The annual Kulkunda cattle fair kicked off at Kulkunda village near Kukke Subramanya on Wednesday morning despite earlier threats from Hindutva activists.

The fair, which attracts about 500 cattle, will go on till Friday. Farmers from Sullia, Vitla, Mangalore and other areas, looking to buy cattle for farming and animal husbandry, purchased half the number of cattle that had been brought to the fair, according to Subramanya Gram Panchayat member Shivaram Rai.

The Bajrang Dal wanted an end to the tradition alleging that the animals purchased here were being transported to abattoirs in Kasaragod district of Kerala. However, the panchayat said only farmers in possession of RTC documents were being allowed to buy cattle.

The panchayat had originally decided to discontinue holding the fair this year when some of its members said that Bajrang Dal had made it impossible to conduct it. Later, the district administration intervened and the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat also directed the Subramanya Gram Panchayat to hold the event. The district administration assured all help for the smooth conduct of the fair. The people of Kulkunda were also keen on the fair as they feared its discontinuation would invite divine wrath (dhosha) for the village.

The panchayat decided not to levy any fee for the cattle brought or sold at the fair from this year onwards. The panchayat was known to charge Rs. 10 per cattle. In addition, it decided to waive the Rs. 150-fee on vehicles transporting cattle.

Mr. Rai, however, said since there was no farmer who owned a vehicle modified to carry cattle. All farmers who purchased cattle had to walk home with the animal. “This has been the tradition,” he said.

Subramanya police said no untoward incident was reported till evening.

Panchayat president Bhaskar Poojary said the cattle fair began with cow worship.

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