If the Centre can acknowledge jallikattu as a legal sport, the same goes for kambala, asserted Vatal

Vatal Nagaraj calls for Karnataka bandh on February 18 wants ban on kambala lifted
news Kambala Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 16:34

Following in Tamil Nadu’s footsteps, protests are taking root in Karnataka for lifting the ban on kambala.

Joining his voice to the small but growing chorus, ex-MLA of Chamarajanagar and President of Karnataka Chalavali Vatal Paksha, Vatal Nagraj has called for a state-wide bandh on February 18.

“Kambala has been a sport in coastal Karnataka for many years. If the Centre can acknowledge jallikattu as a legal sport, then the same goes for kambala,” said Vatal Nagraj.

In the recent past, Vatal Nagraj, a habitual protester, was a part of the protests around the Cauvery and Mahadayi river water issues at the head of the Kannada Okkoota, an amalgamation of a number of regional and linguistic groups. It is not clear if the Okkoota is involved in the kambala protests as well.   

Unlike in Tamil Nadu, the chorus for kambala has been an expectant chorus, arguing that if Tamil Nadu’s jallikattu can receive sanction, so should kambala. The sport has already received statements of support from top political leaders even before popular protests began. Both Congress and BJP leaders have expressed support for removing the ban on the sport.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, while talking to mediapersons, had said that the state government is in favour of kambala and that it hopes the Centre would support it as it had supported Tamil Nadu on jallikattu. He also mentioned that the government would look into passing an ordinance based on the Katnataka High Court’s stay on the sport.

“The Centre has to support the cause as the issue falls under the concurrent list. The Assembly session begins on February 6 and we will arrive at a decision by then. Just like Tamil Nadu got justice, Karnataka is also bound to get justice,’ Law Minister, TB Jayachandra told mediapersons on Tuesday.

BJP MP from Dakshina Kannada district, Nalin Kumar Kateel has also threatened a widespread agitation if the court verdict goes against celebrating kambala.

Kambala has been stopped in the state since the Karnataka High Court passed an interim order in November 2016, based on a petition filed by PETA. Soon after, various kambala organisations filed a petition asking the court to vacate the stay. The case on the petition will be heard on January 30.

However, the organisations supporting kambala have decided to defy the stay order and conduct the races on January 28 at Swaraj Maidan in Moodbidri.