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Buffalo, bird fights put off in State

By The Assam Tribune

MORIGAON, Jan 16 - The traditional buffalo fight in Morigaon and the bulbul fight in Hajo, held on the occasion of Magh Bihu in Assam, were today put off in deference to court orders.

In view of a Supreme Court ban, the traditional buffalo fight, organised by the Ahotguri Buffalo Fight Organising Committee on the occasion of Bhogali Bihu, was not held in Morigaon district this time.

The Gauhati High Court had recently banned another traditional event held during the Magh Bihu festival, responding to pleas that they were cruel to bulbul birds.

On January 12, the High Court, after hearing an application filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, passed an order banning the traditional bulbul fight at the Hayagrib Madhab Mandir at Hajo in Assam, after considering various provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.

The HC order had triggered reactions at Hajo and across the State, with the Hayagrib Madhab Mandir temple authority claiming the bird fight was part of a centuries old religious ritual where obeisance to Lord Vishnu begins with bulbul fight. Though no bulbul fight has taken place this time, those training the birds for the traditional ritual claimed that there was no cruelty involved and no bird was hurt during the training process, a PTI report said.

Morigaon Correspondent adds: Despite a Supreme Court ban, local buffalo keepers today organised buffalo fight at Ahotguri here on the occasion of Magh Bihu. However, the buffalo keepers did not organise a formal fight, respecting the SC order, but opted for only a token fight.

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