The demand for Kambala – the buffalo-cart races native to Karnataka that were banned by the Karnataka High Court – to be restored its legal status gained momentum on Friday, January 27. Protests erupted in different parts of the state in support of Kambala.
The protests are buoyed primarily by the peaceful agitation of the people of Tamil Nadu over restoration of legal status to Jallikattu, which was banned by the Supreme Court.
Protests and support
The people of Tamil Nadu managed to get back Jallikattu by taking their peaceful protest to the state and Central government, and supporters of Kambala are looking to take a similar route. Protests have erupted in several parts of Karnataka, like Hubballi and Mangaluru – formerly Hubli and Mangalore – in support of the buffalo-cart race. There have also been calls to ban the India unit of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The protests are expected to only get stronger, because political support is starting to come in. For starters, former Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa has already promulgated the idea of an ordinance – a la Jallikattu – to bring back Kambala. Current Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also thrown his weight behind the protest and protesters, saying: "We are for Kambala, not against it. It is a rural sport. If necessary, we will bring legislation for it."
PETA India continues to oppose
PETA India, which has for long fought for the banning of these traditions, claiming that they are cruel towards the animals involved, continues to oppose them. PETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura has said in a statement released recently: "India's citizens must reject a society where agitators decide might makes right – for everyone's protection, our country's laws have to matter."
Joshipura also decried the fact that people through protests are "calling for the legalisation of bull and buffalo races during which animals are often hit with nail-studded sticks; cockfights where roosters often have knives tied to their feet; and bulbul bird fights for which the birds are trapped and fed intoxicants."