Kambala, Jallikattu may make comeback

New Delhi: The NDA government is likely to lift restrictions on locally popular traditional sports such as Kambala and Jallikattu from new year but with conditions to protect animals against cruelty.

An announcement is likely to come on January 1 after Union Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar meets Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi for legal vetting of the decision since the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.

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“Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu, bullock cart race in Maharashtra, Kambala in Karnataka and some sort of race using bullocks in Punjab have been traditionally and culturally practised for centuries. We want to respect that but also ensure that there should be no cruelty.

Therefore, we will give you good news in the next couple of days,”Prakash Javadekar told reporters.

The minister said they have “found out some ways and will announce by January 1” since the government was “positive on the issue”.

The restricted folk buffalo race largely takes place in slush fields of coastal Karanataka after the High Court in 2014 December stayed the ban imposed on Kambala by district administrations. The court had allowed the sport after imposing animal welfare ensuring conditions that were to be executed by organisers. The local sport associations, however, had urged the state Congress government to further relax restrictions.

The NDA government was under pressure, especially from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 22, the penultimate day of Parliament’s winter session, demanding that the Centre bring an ordinance to resume Jallikattu in the state so that it can take place during the Pongal festival next month.

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