Guwahati: The Assam Government has directed the Deputy Commissioners of all districts and the Commissioner of Police Guwahati to prohibit animal races and fights in Assam in compliance with a Supreme Court order.
Assam Home Secretary and Commissioner L S Changsan in an order on January 12 to the DCs and the Commissioner of Police said, "This may be complied with priority in view of the bulbul/buffalo fights organised during the Magh Bihu Festival (today and tomorrow)."
Changsan directed the officials to deploy sufficient personnel at places where such fights are held, seize all birds and animals which are being used for such fights.
"Prosecute persons who own such birds/animals including those who conduct or organise such fights since allowing these fights to continue would be a gross violation of the order of the Honourable Supreme Court of India," she said.
The Home Commissioner said the judgement and order of the Supreme Court on May 7, 2014 in the Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja and others case was forwarded to the officials on September 10 for taking necessary action.
NGO Humane Society International/India has welcomed the state government directive in response to their joint appeal with the Animal Welfare Board of India last week to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi urging him to take action to stop the buffalo and bulbul fights.
HSI/India managing director N G Jayasimha in a press release today said, "We are grateful to the Government of Assam for the directions they have issued. We hope that the deputy commissioners will ensure that this is implemented in letter and spirit and that no animal is made to suffer for the sake of our entertainment."
Meanwhile, many of the organisers of such buffalo/bulbul fights insisted that they cannot forego the age-old traditions of Bihu Festival, and that they always ensure no animals are injured.