Irate mob protest banning of animal fights in Assam

Morigaon, Assam: An irate mob in central Assam's Morigaon district today blocked NH-37 and the railway tracks halting both road and rail movement while protesting a Supreme Court ruling banning animal fights.

District Commissioner Rakesh Kumar said in compliance with the apex court order, the district administration had prevented the traditional buffalo fights at the Rasaraj Lakhinath Bezbarua field at Aahotguri during the ongoing Magh Bihu festival which led to the protests.

 Irate mob protest banning of animal fights in Assam

Representational Image. Reuters

Trouble began when the farmer community organised buffalo fight in the field and buffalo keepers assembled there this morning while police prevented their entry, Kumar said.

Protesting the administration's move, the people blocked the national highway and the rail tracks, besides burning tyres on the road, he said.

Kumar said he rushed to the site and cleared the rail tracks and the road that connects upper and lower Assam after assuring the angry protesters that he would take up their demand with the state government for filing an appeal in the apex court for continuance of the tradition in Assam.

Numal Das, advisor to the buffalo fight organising committee, said the Assam Government order "was abrupt and given only two days before the Bihu Festival from January 14 to comply with the Supreme Court order".

"We will appeal to the Court to revise its verdict as it hurts the cultural aspect of our centuries old traditional Magh Bihu festivities," Das said.

"Abiding by the Supreme Court order, we will not hold the buffalo fight, but we are pained that our cultural legacy and sentiment has been hurt," he said.

Buffalo, bulbuls (songbirds) and cock fights are traditionally held across the state during Magh Bihu with the bulbul fights at the Haigriv Madhav temple in Hajo near Guwahati and the buffalo fights at Aahotguri in Morigaon district being the most prominent ones.

An organiser in Hajo said that bulbuli fights were not held due to the Supreme Court ban though preparations were made for it and people were eagerly waiting for the event.

On 12 January, the Assam government had directed the deputy commissioners of all districts and the Commissioner of Police Guwahati to prohibit animal races and fights in Assam in compliance with the 7 May last Supreme Court order.

PTI

Updated Date: Jan 16, 2015 20:55:59 IST