Hubli: Say “bullfight” and most think of Spain where it is a popular sport drawing tourists from the world over. But there is a desi version too which is not as well known. If bullfights are a part of festivals in Spain, taming of bulls is a popular sport in North Karnataka during annual village fairs and Diwali.
Although the Supreme Court has banned it, there seems to be no stopping the adventurous from enjoying the sport. Only last year two were killed and several injured in Koda and Hirekonati villages of Haveri district as young men attempted to tame bulls in a fit of bravado induced by a drink or two.
In most festivals over a hundred of the animals, given colourful names and “dressed” for the event, run through the streets while a large number of young men try to take the bulls by their horns literally and tie a coconut around their necks. While most rely on alcohol for some dutch courage, animal lovers find it deplorable that the bulls too are forced to drink during the event.
Alarmed by the deaths that have accompanied the sport in the past, the Supreme Court banned it along with Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. The ban, however, doesn’t seem to have made a difference.
“Bull taming is still organised everywhere during annual fairs and festivals. Officials have failed to curb the sport. No action has been taken although we have made several appeals to the tahasildar to put a stop to it,” rues animal lover, Murigeppa Shettar of Byadagi.
Haveri superintendant of police, Shashikumar said the sport is held without police permission. “The organisers clandestinely hold the sport after applying for permission for one ritual or the other. We will take action if we find the bulls are treated cruelly,” he assured.