Bengaluru: With the decks getting cleared for the bull taming festival of Jallikattu in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, there is a growing chorus for organising Kambala, a traditional annual buffalo race in marshy fields, held in the coastal districts of Karnataka.
Spurred by the Jallikattu agitation in Tamil Nadu, Kambala committees have decided to meet in Mangaluru on Sunday to strategise their agitation.
“By coming Wednesday or Thursday we are also planning an agitation in this region. By organising a large-scale agitation in Mangaluru we want to attract the attention of politicians and the whole nation.”
“Kambala lovers from Udupi and Mangaluru regions and 150-200 pairs of buffaloes will participate in it,” Kamabala committee president Ashok Rai said.
He said “when Jallikattu has got permission, Kambala should also get it, because no violence is involved in it. It is part of our cultural heritage.”
Karnataka high court’s division bench, headed by Chief Justice S K Mukherjee in an interim order in November 2016 had stayed holding of Kambala on a petition by PETA challenging it in view of orders passed by the Supreme Court on Jallikattu.
Kambala committees have filed an interim application, seeking vacation of the stay. The matter came up yesterday before the division bench of the high court, which adjourned the case to January 30.
“Kambala has been disrupted because of PETA’s ill intentions. We have faith that we will get legal victory also. There is lot of difference between Kambala and Jallikattu,” P R Shetty, member of Kambala committee said. Support for Kambala, a folk sport, has gained momentum in the social media also.
The ban has sparked a debate on whether the event amounts to cruelty to animals or it was just a simple rural sport, which involves racing of buffaloes in paddy fields filled with slush and mud that draws a large number of people. Kambla in its traditional form is non-competitive with buffalo pairs made to race one after another in paddy fields, which is considered a thanksgiving to the Gods for protecting the animals from diseases.
Over the years, it has however become an organised sport with animal rights activists claiming that the buffaloes run in the race due to fear of being beaten, which the organisers dismiss, saying no violence is involved and that several modifications had been made to ensure that it is an animal friendly event.