On the lines of ‘Jallikattu’ race, demand to restart bullock cart race at Kila Raipur ‘Rural Olympics’
New Delhi, April 20
On the lines of ‘Jallikattu’ bull race continuation by Tamil Nadu government, a delegation of Kila Raipur Sports Society, Ludhiana led by BJP national spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill, met the Union Minister of Sports, Youth Affairs and Information & Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, on Wednesday to demand President’s assent to ‘The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Punjab Amendment) Bill 2019’ to pave the way for the resumption of the bullock cart race at the annual Kila Raipur Rural Olympics.
While drawing the attention of Thakur towards the crucial issue of culture and heritage, associated with Punjab and Punjabiyat, from the past so many decades, Shergill said, “These rural games have been organised continuously since the year 1933 in the village Kila Raipur, district Ludhiana. With the passing of time, the popularity of these rural games has increased a lot and these games are known all over the world by the name of ‘Mini Olympics’. The most popular of these sports is the bullock cart race, which was banned in 2014 on the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the plea of PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals).”
Shergill further informed the Union Minister that because of the popularity of bullock cart race in Punjab and its historical and cultural significance, ‘The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Punjab Amendment) Bill 2019’ was passed in the Punjab Legislative Assembly, after which the Bill was sent to the Hon’ble President for his assent but till now, permission has not been received from the Government of India to resume bullock cart race.
“I would also like to bring to your note that this game is played not only in Kila Raipur village (Ludhiana) but also in almost 80 per cent villages of Punjab, which counts to almost 12000”, Shergill told the Union Minister, while further adding, “Henceforth, the resumption of the bullock cart race would have a positive impact on not just Kila Raipur but all those village in Punjab that are emotionally connected with the game. Also, it is significant to mention that Annadata farmers of the country have more attachment with bullock cart race, who come in lakhs to Kila Raipur Stadium to enjoy the game.”
The delegation members also informed the Union Minister that big corporate houses had been sponsoring these games. Highlighting the significance of the issue, Shergill said, “Lakhs of people, including a large number of foreigners, come to enjoy these games. Due to their immense popularity, the Government of India had included these games in the list of Heritage Games in the year 1970, following which an annual grant of Rs 2.5 lakhs, since 1970, is being disbursed by the Union Government for organizing these games.”
Delegation members told the Minister that for the resumption of bullock cart race, the Government of India, vide letter number 17/44/2019-judl & PP dated 22.2.2022, had sought some clarifications from the Punjab government. They added that on 18.07.2022, a proper reply in this regard was sent by the Punjab government to Sh Suresh Chandra Tamta, Deputy Secretary, Govt of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, (Judicial & PP Section, Judicial Wing), New Delhi.
Shergill made a humble request to Thakur to help the Kila Raipur Sports Society on this issue so that the bullock cart race can also be included in the next edition of the games. “The Kila Raipur Sports Society has also not received annual grant of Rs 2.5 lakhs given by the Union Government for Heritage Games from the past 4 years. I would like you to please look into this issue as well, so that the pending grant could also be released”, Shergill requested Thakur.
While urging Thakur to approve their request after sympathetic consideration, Shergill also requested the Minister to make efforts for getting President’s assent to ‘The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Punjab Amendment) Bill 2019’, so that Punjab’s rich and glorious cultural heritage remains preserved. “The residents of 12000 villages of Punjab, especially Kila Raipur, will be extremely grateful to you”, Shergill told the Union Minister. The BJP spokesperson also handed over a letter in this regard to Thakur.