Assam village sets example, holds fake buffalo fight to uphold SC ban
- In 2016, the Supreme Court had placed a ban on animal fights during religious and cultural festivals.
For centuries, buffalo fights have been an integral part of the post-harvest Magh Bihu celebrations across Assam. But a 2016 Supreme Court ban on animal fights during religious and cultural festivals affected this traditional sport.
However, residents of Japisojia village in Sivasagar district of Assam devised a way to preserve tradition while upholding the apex court’s ban by holding fake buffalo fights with men wearing a costume and headgear representing the animal.
Two men covered themselves with a piece of black cloth with the one in front wearing a head gear shaped like a buffalo’s head and indulged in a mock fight with another fake buffalo.
Like in traditional buffalo fights, the fake buffaloes were egged on by their handlers to fight well amid cheers from hundreds of villagers who had gathered at the paddy fields on Friday to witness the sport.
Unlike the village in Sivasagar, buffalo fights were held at several places in Assam on Friday - the first day of Magh month - despite the SC ban. However, the events were held unofficially.
The biggest event in the state was held at Lakshmi Nath Bezbaruah Kshetra in Ahatguri of Morigaon district where thousands of people gathered to witness over hundred buffaloes take part in fights.
“Buffalo fights on Magh Bihu are part of Assam’s tradition for centuries. We will keep holding this event every year to carry forward that tradition,” one of the organizers of the Ahutguri event told a local television channel.