Centre committed to protect Kambala: DVS

Centre committed to protect Kambala: DVS

Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda inspects an alternative whip, meant to be used in Kambala races, during a press meet in Mangaluru on Saturday.

The Centre is in favour of Kambala and will try to save the distinct folk sport, Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda informed on Saturday.

The petition of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) on striking down the ordinance permitting Kambala is to be heard on Monday. The members of the Kambala Horata Samithi, therefore, met the Union Minister at his residence in Bendoorwell to discuss on the next course of action.

After meeting the Samithi members, Gowda told reporters that he had already spoken to the Attorney General, who has promised to convince the Supreme Court to allow organise Kambala. “I will hold another round of discussion with the Attorney General on Monday. I have also talked to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and the state Advocate General,” the minister said and expressed confidence that the Supreme Court will not strike down the ordinance allowing organisation of Kambala.

Gowda also accused Peta of mentally harassing the people of Dakshina Kannada by levelling baseless allegations against Kambala.

“The sport is a part of the culture of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kasargod districts. Kambala buffaloes are treated like children. They get special food and oil massages. Peta, however, has been claiming that the buffaloes suffer from whip lashes used during Kambala,” he charged.

Speaking further, Gowda said defensively that the whip is used as a scare tactic and not to strike the animals. “The condition laid down by the state government for organisers of Kambala should be relaxed. One among the conditions is that Kambala should not be held in an area where the temperature exceeds 32 degree Celsius. A temperature of 32 degree Celsius is common across the coastal belt,” he insisted.

“I will hold discussion with the Karnataka law minister on making amendments in the ordinance,” the minister promised.

Sadananda Gowda also vowed to launch a campaign if the Supreme Court handed down a verdict against Kambala.

Alternative whip

In response to Peta’s main allegation that the organisers of Kambala were whipping the buffaloes with a stick during the sport, the members of the Kambala Horata Samithi have designed a unique whip that does not cause any harm or pain to the animals.

The whip is covered with sponges in order to reduce the impact of the stick. Thus, when the jockeys use the unique sticks to control the buffaloes while galloping, it will not hurt the animals.

If needed, this creatively designed whip will be submitted before the Supreme Court, Seetharam Shetty, former convener of the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Kambala Samithi, has said.