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Emotion, anger spill into streets

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  17 Jan 2015 12:00 AM GMT



Guwahati, January 16: The Bihu revelers in Morigaon district have strongly objected to the Supreme Court’s ban on the age–old tradition of buffalo and bulbul fight on the occasion of Magh Bihu in Assam, triggering a controversy.

Morigaon residents on Friday blocked the tiol Highway 37 at the Anhatguri area by burning tyres and chasing rogue buffaloes on the highway in protests against the court’s order.

Buffalo and bulbul are age–old traditions held during this time of the year as part of celebration of Bhogali or Magh Bihu. The events have been prohibited by the Assam government citing a ban imposed by the Supreme Court in this regard. The apex court had passed an order prohibiting all animal races and fights, thereby directing the Animal Welfare Board of India and the government to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering to animals. The order also emphasizes that animal caretakers shall not incite any animal to fight against a human being or another animal.

Assam’s Home Commissioner LS Sangson had directed the Deputy Commissioners of all the 27 districts in Assam to ensure compliance of the directive and prevent holding of any event during Magh Bihu festival that amounts to showing cruelty to animals. Organising animal fighting is a blatant violation of Section 11(1) (m) (ii) and (n) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.

On the occasion, apart from community feast, people in rural Assam organize buffalo fights and bulbul fights etc., as part of Magh bihu celebration and there has been an age–old tradition in the State. But of late, these practices have not gone down well with the people and organizations working for the protection of animals rights.

Bulbuls or “songbirds” as they are known, protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, are reportedly captured from the wild by villagers who then train them by intoxicating their food with marijua and starve these birds a night before the fight.

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