Two FIRs Registered Over Heinous Cruelty to Animals in Illegal Assam Buffalo Fights Following PETA India’s Complaints

Posted on by Siffer Nandi

Following complaints from PETA India, two first information reports (FIRs) were registered by Raha police and Nagaon Sadar police regarding heinous cruelty to buffaloes during unauthorised buffalo fights held recently in Raha Koroiguri and Kasomari in Nagaon district of Assam and uploaded onto YouTube. In one video (at 14:33 minutes in), the breaking of a buffalo’s horn can first be heard as a loud crack before the broken horn becomes visible. In the second video (at 4:12 minutes in), two buffaloes are mercilessly beaten by men with sticks and forced to lock horns. This results in the two panicked buffaloes charging towards the spectators, causing a man to tumble to the ground, after which a buffalo is again viciously beaten to be brought under control. After an interlocutory application was made by PETA India, the Gauhati High Court issued directions mandating that authorities ensure buffalo fights are conducted only between 15 and 25 January – making these two events outright illegal.

The FIR by Raha police was registered under sections 3, 11(1)(a), (b), (h), (f), (l), (m)(ii), and (n) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, and sections 34, 188, 289, and 429 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, while the FIR registered by Nagaon Sadar police was booked under sections 3, 11(1)(a), (h), (m)(ii), and (n) of the PCA Act and sections 34, 188, 289, 429, and 511 of the IPC against the organisers, participants, and animal owners for facilitating and conducting the buffalo fights, causing immense cruelty and suffering to buffaloes, and putting several human lives in probable danger of grievous harm from the agitated buffaloes.

In its writ petitions with the Gauhati High Court, PETA India makes the case for reinstating a ban on the cruel spectacles of buffalo and bulbul fighting, citing numerous violations of central law in the conduct of these events. As evidence, PETA India submitted investigations into these fights, which reveal that terrified and severely injured buffaloes were beaten to force them to fight and that bulbuls were captured from the wild and starved to force them to fight for food.

An investigation into a buffalo fight held in Ahatguri in the Morigaon district of Assam on 16 January revealed that to instigate buffaloes to fight, owners slapped, pushed, and shoved them; jabbed and struck them with wooden sticks; and pulled them by their nose ropes to force them to approach one another. When fights were underway, some owners and handlers jabbed the buffaloes with sticks and whacked them with bare hands to cause them further distress. The buffaloes locked horns and fought, sustaining bloody wounds to their necks, ears, faces, and foreheads – many had injuries all over their body. The fights lasted until one of the two buffaloes broke away and fled.

An investigation conducted into a bulbul bird fight held in Hajo in Assam on 15 January revealed that red-vented bulbuls – who are protected under Schedule II of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 – were illegally captured and incited, against their natural instincts, to fight over food. It is reported that the birds are captured several days before the fight. Capturing protected wild birds is considered a form of hunting and is illegal.

The birds are reportedly commonly drugged with marijuana and fed other intoxicating herbs, bananas, black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon to agitate them, after which they’re starved for at least one night before the fight. During the fight, a piece of banana is dangled in front of the hungry birds, inciting them to attack each other. Each fight lasted approximately five to 10 minutes, and handlers forced exhausted birds to continue fighting by repeatedly blowing air on them.

PETA India’s writ petitions to the High Court point out that the buffalo and bulbul fights violate the Constitution of India, the PCA Act, and judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, including in Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja. Such fights are inherently cruel, cause immeasurable pain and suffering to the animals forced to participate, and contradict the tenets of ahimsa (non-violence) and compassion, which are integral to Indian culture and tradition. Allowing these events to continue is a regressive step which threatens to undo almost a decade of progress in human and animal rights.

Help Stop Buffaloes From Being Forced to Fight in Cruel Spectacles

Help Stop Bulbuls From Being Forced to Fight in Cruel Spectacles