Bengaluru: After the bull-taming sport Jallikattu was permitted in neighbouring Tamil Nadu through an executive order, the Karnataka legislature is trying to bring back the buffalo-racing sport, Kambala. And the chief minister's first challenge is making sure people say it right. Asked about the issue today, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters, "Please properly pronounce it. It is Kambala."
A traditional sport in which water buffaloes are made to race down a track filled with mud and water, Kambala came under the Supreme Court's ban for the same reason as Jallikattu -- cruelty to the animals involved.
The state legislature began a five-day session today. During the session, the state government is planning to introduce a bill to allow the sport, despite the ban.
Law minister T B Jayachandra said, "In another two or three days, it has come to a final shape and we will be placing it. It is only a bill. The Central government has to agree to it."
"We will support the government on this," said Jagadish Shettar of the BJP, who is also the leader of the opposition in the state assembly.
The Karnataka High Court, which had banned the event, is waiting to see what the Supreme Court has to say on the issue. Animal welfare groups have approached the Supreme Court against the lifting of the ban on jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
Kambala was a very popular sport, held mostly in the coastal regions of Karnataka. It was especially popular in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts.
For Kambala, two water buffaloes were yoked together and made to race down a muddy, water-filled route. A man guided and whipped them along. Animal rights activists have pointed out that water buffaloes are not built for speed and it is unnatural to make them run in such stress-filled conditions.