Celebrations in 2 districts after High Court verdict on Kambala

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The Hindu


  • ‘Changes to make Kambala cruelty-free already brought in’


Mangaluru/Udupi, Dec 16, 2014: The decision of the Karnataka High Court to permit Kambala (buffalo slush race) with some conditions, was greeted with distribution of sweets and celebrations in the two coastal districts.


The District Kambala Samiti, Mangaluru, which has been fighting for the continuation of folk sport after the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi banned it claiming it amounted to cruelty to animals, will meet in Moodbidri on Tuesday to discuss the ways to bring the conditions imposed into practice.


The ban followed the letters written to the two Deputy Commissioners by the Animal Welfare Board noting a Supreme Court order banning Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu was applicable to Kambalas too.



Conditions in practice

Gunapal Kadamba, secretary of the samiti, said Kambala organisers were bound to put into practice the conditions laid down by the High Court and ensure that the sport was free of cruelty to buffaloes. “If we do not ensure that, then we have to lose out on this rural sport that has a good following in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada,” he said. Onus lies more on the owners of buffaloes and on Kambala riders, he said.


Sitaram Shetty, who owns a few Kambala-running buffaloes, said the conditions — taking good care of buffaloes and not hitting them — had already been put into practice. The samiti organised a Kambala on November 2 as a model “cruelty-free” race.


“We have been following many of the suggestions. These conditions will be rigorously enforced,” Mr. Shetty said.


The High Court has asked tahsildars to oversee Kambala and ensure the enforcement of conditions, he said. Ashok Rai, who organises the folk sport in Uppinangady, said some of the Kambalas — other than the traditional ones done to please a local deity — that could not be held following the ban by the State Animal Husbandary Department on November 13, were likely to be held in the coming weeks.


Mr. Rai said the samiti would discuss in Moodbidiri, among other things, on whether the organisers of Veera Vikrama Kambala in Hokkadigodi near Bantwal would go ahead with the event on December 20 or not.


Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry Thippeswamy and Animal Care Trust’s trustee Suma Nayak, who had favoured the ban, said they were yet to receive the High Court orders. Mr. Thippeswamy said the High Court directions would be discussed with other district authorities and instructions issued accordingly.


Buffalo procession

In Udupi, a victory procession was organised on Monday by the Udupi Zilla Nagarika Samiti to celebrate the High Court order.


Members of the Zilla Nagarika Samiti took out a pair of buffaloes in a short procession accompanied with the beating of drums at Beedinagudde.


They danced on the streets at the Beedinagudde Circle and hailed the High Court order. They also burst crackers on the occasion.


Nityananda Volakadu, general secretary of the samiti, said Kambala, which was in practice for centuries and generations, represented the culture of Tulunadu.


“We are all delighted that the High Court has issued a stay on the ban on Kambala. The two buffaloes which we have taken in procession today are those which participate in the Chitpady Kambala,” he said.



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