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Karnataka to amend Act to facilitate Kambala as protests grow

Bullock cart races and Kambala in North Karnataka, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts will be exempted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Published: 29th January 2017 12:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2017 06:13 AM   |  A+A-

Kambala-EPS

File image of buffalo race named 'Kambala' in Karnataka. | Express Photo Service

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: The state cabinet on Saturday approved the introduction of an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Bill, 1960, to enable the state to hold both Kambala and bullock cart races. 

Briefing reporters after a cabinet meeting, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T B Jayachandra said the amendment Bill will be introduced in the legislature session starting February 6 and they will make all attempts to get the Bill passed. “Since this is on the Concurrent List, even the state can legislate. The amendment Bill will state these are traditional sports and should be allowed,” he said.

The bullock cart races are held in North Karnataka and Kambala in the districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada.    

Kambala was being held for nearly 600 years and does not cause any cruelty to the participating animals, the minister said, adding that in recent times, not a single death has taken place due to the folk sport.

In Moodabidri, amid tight security, Kambala supporters marched in a nearly four-km long procession from Swaraj Maidan with 200 bullocks and ended their protest against the ban at Kadalakere Nisargadhama Kambala Track. They demanded an ordinance, as was done in the case of Jallikattu to permit holding of the folk sport.      

Kambala was part of agriculture and an 800-year-old tradition which is indivisible component of our lives, the supporters said, emphasising that they treated the buffaloes as their own children and no violence was involved unlike in Jallikattu, where deaths and injuries to many occur.      

The protest was called by various committees associated with the organisation of the sport, including the District Kambala Samiti, Sampradaya Kambala Samiti, Kambala Academy and Moodbidri Koti-Chennaya Jodukare Kambala Samiti.      

The matter is before the Karnataka High Court and it will hear the case on January 31.      

The annual sport, held from November to March, involves a pair of buffaloes tied to the plough and anchored by one person. They are made to run in parallel muddy tracks in a competition in which the fastest team wins. It is believed to be held to propitiate the Gods for a good harvest, besides being a recreational sport for farmers.  

Meanwhile, a PETA statement said agitators in Karnataka have taken a leaf out of the pro-Jallikattu protesters' book and begun to falsely label PETA India as "foreign" and were now calling for banning the organisation.      

Poorva Joshipura, PETA India CEO, said calling for a ban on PETA India would also be akin to calling for a ban on a child protection organisation which saves children from illegal trafficking. "We should all be concerned that such an action is being called for," she said.      

The High Court 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. 

Karnataka to start Dr B R Ambedkar School of Economics very soon

The state has also approved the starting of Dr B R Ambedkar School of Economics from the academic year 2017-18. For expenses incurred by the school, Rs 107 crores has been released to the Department of Higher Education. 

“Out of this, Rs 17 crore will be used for initial expenses and Rs 90 crore will be used for building infrastructure. The building is estimated to cost Rs 150 crores,” Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddy said. The school will also be an autonomous institute.

To manage other expenses, the Cabinet has also approved the forming of a corpus fund of Rs 150 crores, of which Rs 75 crore will be given by the state government and another Rs 75 crore will be raised through private sponsors.

Retired IAS officer and economist Anup K Pujari will be a special officer. Going by the report prepared by former chief secretary S V Ranganath on the modalities of starting the school, 43.35 acres in Bangalore University premises will be given on a 99-year lease to the School of Economics.

Though the mode of admission to the school has not been worked out, reservation of 20 percent will be given for Schedule Castes and 10 percent for Schedule Tribes.

(With Inputs from PTI)



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