Even as the administration tried to enforce a Supreme Court prohibition on animal fights, villagers in several pockets in Assam today organized buffalo-fights saying these were inseparable from Assamese culture and tradition associated with bhogali bihu, the harvest festival of the state.
While heavy deployment of police was made since early morning in Ahatguri and Mikirbheta, two villages in Morigaon district, to prevent holding of buffalo fights, villagers raised loud protests and even blocked the national highway and railway tracks to register their protest.
“We were able to convince committees at Ahatguri and Mikirbheta to cancel the buffalo fights. The police also turned away over 40 buffalos that had arrived at Ahatguri to take part in the event,” said Morigaon SP Ainul Haque. “It was a tough job refraining people from the traditional event. Some people also blocked NH-715 and the Guwahati-Lumding railway track for sometime to register their resentment near Ahatguri.
As thousands of people had gathered at Ahatguri – where buffalo-fight has been held for over three centuries as part of bhogali bihu – a few rounds of fight did took place, but not inside the venue of the Ahatguri Anchalik Moh-jooj aru Bhogali Utsav Samiti. “You can’t stop people from spontaneously putting their buffalos to fight,” said Nirsingha Hazarika of the Utsav Samiti, emphasising that the Samiti had refrained from organizing the event by respecting the Supreme Court order.
In Hajo, about 30 kms from Guwahati on the other hand the Hayagriva-Madhava Temple Committee too cancelled traditional bulbul fights that otherwise draw large number of tourists to the ancient temple. But Nrisingha Hazarika of Ahatguri Anchalik Moh-jooj aru Bhogali Utsav Samiti said all such organizations that have been holding buffalo fights and bulbul fights would soon constitute a platform and approach the Supreme Court.
“We are contemplating approaching the Supreme Court seeking exemption because buffalo fights and bulbul fights are traditional sports inseparable from our culture. We don’t know whether the hon’ble court had taken this into consideration while issuing its latest order,” Hazarika said.