Video: From bulbul fights to bullock racing, there are demands for these animal sports to be allowed
The removal of the ban on jallikattu in Tamil Nadu has had a ripple effect from Assam to Goa.
The Tamil Nadu Assembly, at a special session on Monday, passed a Bill to revoke a Supreme Court ban on jallikattu. The Bill said that the bull-taming sport would be exempted from the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, thereby clearing the decks for bouts to be held.
For six days before the Bill was passed, thousands of people had gathered across Tamil Nadu to demonstrate against a ban on jallikattu that had been imposed in 2014. While the protests were largely peaceful, they grew violent on Monday when the police attempted to evict protestors at Chennai’s Marina Beach.
With its actions, the Tamil Nadu government might have just set a precedent for other banned animal sports across the country.
The Shiv Sena in Maharashtra is already gearing up to stage protests in the state against a similar ban on bullock cart racing. Party officials told The Financial Express that the bullock cart race carries the same sentiment in Maharashtra that jallikattu carries in Tamil Nadu, and if the Supreme Court does not bring it back, then the Shiv Sena will take to the streets as soon as the Budget is over.
The video above, by Zee Marathi, is of one such bullock cart race in the state’s Satara district.
On Monday, the Karnataka state government, too, asked the Centre to lift the ban on kampala – another traditional bull race (video below) usually conducted in January. There are also plans for a protest on January 28 to put pressure on the Centre to support its demand just as it did in the case of jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
The same story may unfold in Goa, where the state government has so far upheld the ban on yet another bull fighting sport, this one called dhirio (see video below). However, in the wake of members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party showing support for jallikattu, Vijay Sardesai, the independent MLA from Fatorda in South Goa, has said that the same respect must be accorded to the traditional dhirio.
On the other side of the debate, animal lovers have stepped up efforts to ensure the ban stays in place, according to a report in the Times of India.
However, on Sunday, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu told the newspaper that the ban on the sport may be reconsidered.
One of the oldest rituals involving animals in India is the traditional cockfight, also a bloodsport, that goes back 6,000 years. While it is conducted across India, it is especially popular in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where the tradition continues despite a ban.
In Assam, bull and bulbul fights (below), traditionally associated with the state’s harvest festival of Bihu, have not been organised for two years, at least officially. But following the Tamil Nadu government’s actions, residents of the northeastern state are now asking that the ban on these be repealed as well.
Speaking to The Hindu in September, Animal Welfare Board of India vice-chairman S Chinny Krishna explained why he thought traditional animal sports should die a “natural death”. He said, “As time passed, traditional practices that were considered a part of Indian culture have been discontinued. The prevailing ‘traditional’ animal sports should also follow the same path, as the aspect of safeguarding a legacy in the name of inflicting agony on animals is flawed.”