Bengaluru: The Karnataka Assembly on Monday passed the Kambala bill to allow conduct of the popular buffalo racing sport in the state.
On Friday, taking a cue from Tamil Nadu's special bill to allow its controversial bull taming sport, Jallikattu, Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister A Manju moved an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 in the Legislative Assembly to allow the holding of popular rural sports like Kambala, bull race and bullock cart races in Karnataka.
While retaining the provisions of the Act that insist on treating the animals used in these sports humanely, the government has allowed people to continue holding them, arguing that they are a part and parcel of the state's culture. It said it would notify the dates for the events later.
Recalling that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was enacted to prevent infliction of unnecessary cruelty and suffering on animals, the government, however, contended it had decided to exempt the holding of Kambala, the bulls race from its ambit as these traditional sports played a significant role in preserving and promoting the tradition and culture of the state.
The bill has added a clause to the 1960 Act stating that nothing contained in it shall apply to Kambala, bulls race or bullock cart race and organising these sports shall not be an offence under it.
The government also moved an amendment to the Revenue Act to extend the terms of the committees constituted to regularise encroachments in rural areas. Currently the Act gives the committees a 16 year term starting from 2000 to dispose of petitions under sections 94B and form 53. The amendment proposes to give them two more years to dispose of the petitions.
Earlier on January 30, the Karnataka High Court had adjourned the Kambala matter for two weeks and advised the petitioner to come back once the apex court passes a verdict on Tamil Nadu's bull taming sport Jallikattu.
With the clamour growing for revoking the ban on Kambala, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah earlier pitched for the traditional annual buffalo race, saying that the government will issue an ordinance to lift the ban if necessary.
The Karnataka High Court in an interim order, in November 2016, had stayed holding of Kambala on a petition by PETA. The Kannada committee, however, filed an interim application seeking vacation of the stay.