Buffalo Fights Revived in Assam After 9 Years

After a hiatus of almost nine years, traditional Moh-Juj (buffalo) fights were held in Ahatguri, Assam. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma attended the event to mark the revival of this cultural practice.

Cabinet Approval to Restore Tradition

In December 2022, the Assam cabinet granted approval to frame detailed procedures for permitting buffalo and bull fights during Magh Bihu. This intangible cultural heritage will now be organized under government guidelines.

Focus on Animal Welfare

The standard operating procedures aim to prevent cruelty against animals while enabling locals to celebrate the state’s centuries-old heritage. Organizers must ensure animal well-being is upheld during events.

Magh Bihu Links

Buffalo fights have traditionally been held informally during Magh Bihu celebrations in January.

However, in 2014, the Supreme Court banned events like Jallikattu, bullock-cart races, and other similar activities that were deemed harmful to animals. This resulted in traditional buffalo fights also being outlawed.

However, in May 2022 there was a major development – a Supreme Court bench upheld amendments to animal cruelty legislation by certain states. This allowed the resumption of specific bull-taming sports and related rural events.

Following this, in October 2022, the Assam Government assured the Gauhati High Court that it would formulate standard operating procedures (SOPs) to regulate traditional practices like buffalo fights.

Subsequently, on December 8th, 2023, the Assam cabinet formally approved the revival of buffalo fights under strict rules and protocols. This nod from the state government paved the way for restarting this cultural event in a regulated manner after years of prohibition.

Revived Events, Not Tournaments

With the ban in place, buffalo fights could not be organized as tournaments. However some individual owners continued it sporadically. Global best practices were studied before restarting the events.

History of Ahatguri Events

The riverside town of Ahatguri has hosted buffalo fight tournaments as part of Magh Bihu since 1972. But these large-scale events were stopped after the 2014 prohibition.



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