Karnataka assembly on Monday passed a bill to facilitate the conduct of "Kambala" — a buffalo race in the state's coastal areas, reports The Times of India.
The Karnataka High Court on 30 January had declined to vacate its 18 November interim stay on Kambala till the Supreme Court's verdict on Jallikattu bull-taming sport in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, posting the case's next hearing for 13 February.
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 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.
Piloting the Bill, Animal Husbandry minister A Manju said Kambala was a traditional folk sport and involved no cruelty to animals and it was a "popular will" that it be allowed.
A committee headed by Law Minister T B Jayachandra had recommended that Kambala, as also bullock cart race, be permitted as no betting or cruelty to animals was involved and it related to agriculture and farmers' beliefs, Manju said.
Animal rights activists on 25 January challenged the amendment Bill to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, passed by the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly on 23 January to nullify the apex court's 7 May, 2014 ban on Jallikattu.
The apex court also banned Kambala in coastal Karnataka along with Jallikattu on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) India, Compassion Unlimited Plus Action and the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Peta also sought a ban on Kambala, as the buffaloes are whipped to race faster in slush paddy fields for their owners to win cash prizes from Rs 10,000 to Rs five lakh.
Demand for reviving Kambala in Karnataka came soon after the Tamil Nadu passed the law replacing the ordinance to bypass the apex court's ban on Jallikattu, held during the Pongal festival in mid-January every year.
Though the state cabinet on 28 January cleared the draft bill to amend the PCA Act for reviving Kambala, by introducing it in the legislature session from 6 February, the Mangaluru-based Kambala Committee sought an ordinance to overcome the high court's interim stay.
The committee filed an interim application in the high court for vacating its stay on resuming Kambala after Tamil Nadu's law to allow Jallikattu.
With inputs from agencies.
Updated Date: Feb 13, 2017 16:00 PM