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Demand to resume ‘tonga race’ gains momentum in Rajasthan

Some politicians, including an Independent MLA, will hold a sit-in at Nagaur district collectorate office on August 24 demanding the state government to bring an ordinance to sidestep a court ban on traditional ‘tonga race’

jaipur Updated: Aug 20, 2017 18:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan,tonga race,high court
The Rajasthan high court banned the tonga or horse cart race in 2014 citing cruelty to animals.(HT File)

Some politicians, including an Independent MLA, will hold a sit-in at Nagaur district collectorate office on August 24 demanding the state government to bring an ordinance to sidestep a court ban on traditional “tonga race”.

The Rajasthan high court banned the tonga or horse cart race in 2014 citing cruelty to animals. The court also objected to horses being forced to run on a concrete road.

Hanuman Beniwal, an Independent MLA from Khinvsar, Nagaur, and other politicians in the district announced the sit-in while Shiv Sena state unit president Om Chaudhary called a Nagaur bandh on August 23 over the issue.

“The race is a matter of people’s faith and if the state government fails to take action then it will have to deal with protests,” Beniwal said, adding that he has support of local BJP and Shiv Sena leaders.

Beniwal is demanding that the Rajasthan government bring an ordinance on the lines of Jallikattu -- the bull-taming sport of Tamil Nadu.

Jallikattu was banned by the Supreme Court in 2014 along with bullock cart races in Maharashtra and Punjab, Kambala (buffalo race) in Karnataka and Dhirio (bull fight) in Goa. Following protests, Tamil Nadu promulgated an ordinance to allow resumption of the sport.

The “tonga” race in Nagaur was used to take place every year during an annual fair dedicated to Lord Ganesha and Lord Tejaji. This year the fair will be organised on August 31.

The state government said it was in touch with the Centre and Nagaur district administration to find a solution. “The race is a part of the tradition. We cannot go against the court ruling, but we could move to the Supreme Court and draft a policy for all similar events,” animal husbandry minister Prabhulal Saini said.

First Published: Aug 20, 2017 18:41 IST