Bengaluru, July 4: After ‘Jalikattu’ now Karnataka gave a nod to practice ‘Kambala’; President Pranab Mukherjee promulgated the ordinance legalising the ‘Kambala’ sport. Now with Jalikattu, Kambala is also officially legal in Karnataka.
The approval comes as a massive victory to those fighting for the cause of the traditional sport. In February, the Karnataka government had passed a bill to legalise Kambala, the traditional buffalo race as well as bullock cart race in the state. Earlier in June, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice had cleared the bill.
Before this, Karnataka also passed a bill to legalise Jalikattu. The centuries-old buffalo races are held in the wetlands of coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Uduipi, about 400km from Bengaluru, from November-March every year to celebrate a good harvest and as a recreational sport for farmers and rural folk. Kambala is a buffalo-cart race that is organised from November to March by heads of villages in coastal Karnataka.
It was banned by the Karnataka High court after public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by the India unit of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2016. Protests in favour of organising Kambala gathered momentum in Karnataka following agitation against the ban on the Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
Considering the significant role played by the traditional sports events "Kambala" and "Bulls race or Bullock cart race" in preserving and promoting traditions and culture among the people in the state and their vital role in ensuring survival and continuance of native breeds of cattle, the government has decided to exempt their conduct, the bill said.
The President has now approved the Bill that seeks to exempt Kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960. Current CM Siddaramaiah also said that he was in favour of bringing back the sport. "We are for Kambala, not against it. It is a rural sport. If necessary, we will bring legislation to it," Siddaramaiah had said.