Further to the petition we put up change.org/KambalaKindness, letters written to KAWB from Sept 21 2023, (read https://www.cjmemorialtrust.org/post/kawb-support-for-upcoming-kambala-festival-in-karnataka?
and the of response from KAWB , here is an article on Kambala by Iffath Fatima in Bangalore Mirror today . Our cultural tradition must be matched by compassion in parallel, we feel. Chats with SPCA Dr Chandrashekar reassure us that a few of these preventive measures will be taken.
RACE TO THE FINISH, BUT ARE THERE ANY SET RULES?
By Iffath Fathima, Bangalore Mirror Bureau.
Activists say Kambala begins in city in 3 days, but authorities yet to explain rules to organisers
The city will be hosting Kambala (buffalo race) for the first time in three days from now. The event to be held from November 25-26 has got animal lovers concerned.
They are worried that all safety and precautions would be followed and there is no cruelty to animals. An online petition too had started in October to insist on this. However, they pointed out that the Karnataka Animal Welfare Board (KAWB) has not come out with detailed information on measures that would be carried out during the festival despite their reminders.
The Kambala festival anticipates a daily footfall of 3 lakhs, with over 100 champion buffalo pairs and skilled runners participating. The substantial number of buffalo pairs emphasises on the necessity for precautionary measures. According to the CJ Memorial Trust’s petition, the President’s ordinance in June 2017 ratified the Karnataka Second Amendment Act, 2017 PCA, making the festival legal and part of Karnataka’s cultural tradition. Section 3(1) specifies that the conduct of ‘Kambala’ or ‘Bulls race or Bullock cart race’ is permitted, with conditions ensuring no unnecessary pain or suffering to the animals.
Section 4(f) emphasises on conducting ‘Kambala’ to follow and promote tradition, culture, and the preservation of native buffalo breeds, focusing on their safety, security, and wellbeing.
“However, there have been many instances of injury to humans and inadvertent or deliberate animal cruelty; and many FIRs have been filed in several locations for the same under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Performing Animals Registration Rules and IPC 429 etc,” said the petition.
Priya Chetty Rajagopal from CJ memorial trust stressed on the two things about the festival - the 2017 second amendment act has ratified the festival as part of a state heritage; and as it is being held in Bengaluru for the first time, there is a concern and spotlight. “The KAWB must come forward and act. In the case of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Bengaluru, there are three things that must be done. First, senior members of SPCA should be deputed to the festival and this be prominently informed to the organisers, police and administration much in advance. Second, information has to be given in person and in writing to the organisers to follow all the rules of Performing Animals 2001 rule and to take all precautions to handle the animals without cruelty and injury. Third, veterinarians must examine the animals before the race to ensure they’re in good condition and also, after the race to ensure there is no injury, cruelty, etc. If there is any issue, a notice must be sent immediately, the animal seized, and police and state administration must be informed,” she said.
Citizens added that with the race commencing in just about three days there is hardly any time left but still a proper order for precautionary and preventive measures has not been released. Chetty added, “We fully support the tradition. The festival conducted should be held in the best possible way. The officials should take charge and write to the organisers well in advance on the measures to be followed. The animals need to be checked for health and adequate measures are taken. If the rules are not followed then the police should give a show cause notice and confiscate the animal.”
Commissionerate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences, Manjunath S Palegar said, “We will be following the same protocol and measures that were being followed in Kambala festivals held in Mangaluru. The Bengaluru deputy director has been asked to follow the same measures as Mangaluru.”
All about the big race
The first ever ‘Kambala,’ a buffalo race on a mud track originating from coastal Karnataka, is all set to make its debut in Bengaluru on November 25 and 26 at the Palace Grounds. The chairperson of the organising committee Prakash Shetty said that 139 pairs of buffaloes will be participating in the event and have already departed from the coastal region to Bengaluru.
To ensure the smooth execution of the event, organizers have arranged for the transportation of water for the buffaloes to Bengaluru, ensuring their well-being and preventing any disruption to their routine. The organisers anticipate a footfall of around two lakh people during the event, with an estimated expenditure ranging from Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 8 crore. The winner of the race will receive 16 grams of gold and Rs one lakh, the first runner-up will be awarded eight grams of gold and Rs 50,000, and the second runner-up will receive four grams of gold and Rs 25,000. Puttur Congress MLA Ashok Kumar Rai said that participants are driven by a desire to showcase the rich culture of coastal Karnataka rather than monetary rewards.
Rai mentioned that six Muslim groups and four Christian groups are also participating. The organisers stressed that photographers will be permitted to take pictures with the condition that they refrain from using a flashlight, as it may agitate the buffaloes and lead to potential disruptions.