Despite a Supreme Court ban on animal fights and races, the people of Morigaon district in Assam organised the traditional buffalo fight at Boidyabori area on January 16th, 2020.
The buffalo fights, popularly known as Moh juj in Assam, are part of the tradition and are organised on the first day of Assamese calendar month of Magh as part of Bihu celebrations.
In 2014, the Supreme Court had banned organizing any kind of animal fight or races and instructed the Animal Welfare Board of India and state governments to monitor such activities and act against the violation of the order.
After the ban, though the Bihu celebrations committees have stopped from organising such fights, some of the buffalo owners have continued to organize the fights unofficially and informally.
Buffalo fights have also been organised in Ahatguri too. The buffalo fights of Morigaon are extremely popular and every year, thousands visit the fields to witness the dual.
“The buffalo fights of Ahatguri and Boidyabori are part of our tradition and we have been organising it as part of the Magh Bihu celebrations for a long time. We are aware about the Supreme Court ban…but we cannot give up on our culture,” said a local resident refusing to be named.
Ahead of the fights, the buffalos are cleaned, decorated and worshipped. The local residents said that buffalo fight events and buffalos participating in such fights have decreased post the court’s ban order.
The owners claimed that buffalos gain lots of energy during this period and such fights are organised to exhaust the animals so that they do not attack the keepers or people.