Months after the Karnataka Government passed an ordinance in February to legalise the buffalo and/or bullock racing game of Kambala, after massive protests in the state, the President of India has finally approved prevention of cruelty to animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017.
Earlier President Pranab Mukherjee had sent the bill back to the government since it included an ambiguous statement i.e. that the law is, “subject to such other conditions as may be prescribed”, which meant that the law may or may not apply to sports other than Kambala, as reported by One India. In the amended ordinance, only Kambala, the 800-year-old traditional sport is allowed to be legally played in the state.
The country saw massive agitation in southern states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, after protests in the latter over legalisation of Jallikattu (bull-taming sport). In 2014, sports like Jallikattu and Kambala were banned by the Supreme Court, after cases were filed by animal rights organisations, since the sport is a crime under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Supporters of the sport have endorsed the game by calling it an emblem of ‘agrarian culture’ that is believed to please the gods and give good harvest to the village, according to TOI.