Moodabidri, Nov 12, 2017: 15th annual Kambala organised by the Koti-Chennaya Jodu Kare Kambala Samiti, Ontikere, Moodabidri, hit a secular chord as the managing trustee of the Badagu Mahalingeshwara Temple, Alangar, Vedamurthi Eshwar Bhat, Rev. Sunil Veigas of Alangar Church and businessman Abdul Rawoof jointly inaugurated the event.
Falling in line with the Supreme Court guidelines, the organisers allowed jockeys to whip buffaloes only three times and in self-defence. Two jockeys, who violated this rule, were disqualified. However, they were allowed to participate in the next round without a whip in their hand. In a first, the organisers used digital timers on both tracks for better accuracy.
The event drew thousands of fans as it was celebrated as a Vijayotsava following the promulgation of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 that allowed the rural sport. Pro-Kabaddi star Sukesh Hegde from Ajekar, Karkala, who was part of the inaugural ceremony, said Kambala to Tulunadu is like Diwali to India, and wished it all success.
Kuldeep M of Chowtara Aramane Kuldeep M presided. Nearly 150 pairs of buffaloes were brought by Kambala fans from various parts of Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Kasaragod districts.
Mulky-Moodbidri MLA K Abhaychandra Jain, the main sponsor, said the organisers in the coastal districts are confident of getting clearance from the Supreme Court which has issued notices to central and state governments in connection with a petition filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals India.
"India got freedom through a war of ahimsa. We’ve been fighting for Kambala in the same manner. We also follow ahimsa during the conduct of Kambala. We’re confident the Supreme Court will be convinced during the hearing on November 13," he added.
Fr Francis Xavier Gomes, parish priest, Mulky Church, said: "It’s encouraging to note that Kambala is being celebrated as a feast of all religions. A Kambala research centre should come up at Moodbidri and the government should provide more facilities."
The Supreme Court, on November 6, admitted a petition filed by PETA India, which challenged the legality of the Karnataka Ordinance allowing Kambala. While admitting the petition seeking a court direction to strike down the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre and Karnataka government asking them to appear in the matter on November 13.