The Kulkunda cattle fair, near the temple town of Kukke Subrahmanya, which faced a threat from Hindutva activists, will be held this year for three days, with the district administration promising all help to conduct it.
n order issued by Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, following intervention by the district administration, and a decision taken by the Subrahmanya Gram Panchayat not to discontinue it are set to ensure that the district keeps its date with the fair.
It will be held amid fears that Bajrang Dal will prevent transport of the cattle to and from the fair, which has been a meeting point for decades for farmers from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Hassan and parts of North Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala, to trade cattle.
Following clashes in the last few years between supporters of the fair and Bajrang Dal activists — who alleged that the cattle purchased here were being sent to abattoirs in Kerala — the Subramanya Gram Panchayat had decided not to hold the cattle fair this year. The panchayat members had maintained that the Hindutva activists had rendered it impossible to conduct the fair.
The fair, scheduled to begin on November 28, is expected to see trade of about 750 cattle, down from 50,000-plus during its hey days.
President of the panchayat Bhaskar Poojary, who confirmed the receipt of an order issued by the zilla panchayat on Friday asking it to hold the fair on Friday, said trouble was expected this year too. He said he would give the copy of the order to police and seek security. The order, issued following a letter written to the zilla panchayat by Deputy Commissioner N.S. Channappa Gowda, wants the panchayat to take measures to maintain law and order during the fair.
Mr. Gowda told The Hindu that district administration would extend all help the Subramanya panchayat for holding the cattle fair. Police would take care of the law and order.
Considering that Bajrang Dal members had allegedly prevented transport of cattle in the past, panchayat member Shivaram Rai said a delegation had met the officials of RTO, Puttur, seeking permits to farmers to transport cattle.
About the decision of the Subramanya Temple to hold a gou-puja (cow worship) following a tamboola prashne (divine intercession) instead of the cattle fair, the panchayat president said the temple authorities had maintained that they had nothing to do with the cattle fair.
Mr. Rai said the panchayat had decided to ensure that only farmers purchased cattle. Those purchasing cattle would have to produce copies of the RTC — the document tha shows that they hold lands. The panchayat has decided against levying any fee this time. Earlier it used to charge Rs. 10 per head of cattle and Rs. 150 for lorry transporting the cattle.
Keywords: Kulkunda cattle fair