Moodbidri, Jan 28, 2017: The Hakkottaya protest to pressurise the government to initiate measures to lift ban on Kambala, the traditional sport of the coastal districts, has commenced here on Saturday, January 28 under the leadership of local MLA and Moodbidri Kambala Committee Chief K Abhayachandra Jain. Around 4000 people gathered at the Swaraj Maidan in Moodbidri on Saturday, bringing around 200 pairs of their prized buffaloes to show off to the world.
Amid tight security, Kambala supporters marched in a nearly four-km long procession from Swaraj Maidan with 200 bullocks and ended their protest against the ban at Kadalakere Nisargadhama Kambala Track.
The protesters holding placards and shouting slogans demanded an ordinance, as was done in the case of Jallikattu (bull taming sport) in Tamil Nadu, to permit holding of the folk sport which is part of the tradition of the coastal Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.
Kambala was part of agriculture and an 800-year-old tradition which was is indivisible component of our lives, the supporters said, emphasising that they treated the buffaloes as their own children and no violence was involved unlike in Jallikattu, where deaths and injuries to many occur.
The protest was called by various committees associated with the organisation of the sport, including the District Kambala Samiti, Sampradaya Kambala Samiti, Kambala Academy and Moodbidri Koti-Chennaya Jodukare Kambala Samiti.
A symbolic Kambala was planned earlier as part of the protest, but was given up after persuasion by district authorities against violating the law. The matter is before the Karnataka High Court at present and it will hear the case on January 31.
Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, Kaup MLA and former minister Vinay Kumar Sorake, Tulu film and theatre personalities and several political leaders are among those participating in the protest.
Having made a significant show of strength in the coastal region, the organisers of the protest said that the next step would be for the protesters to make their mark in the state capital, too. Hence, they announced, the protests would next move to Bengaluru, where an expected gathering of 5,000 protesters would demonstrate at Freedom Park.