Hori Habba: Casualties raise safety concerns

A file photo of Hori Habba being held in Shivamogga district.

A file photo of Hori Habba being held in Shivamogga district.   | Photo Credit: VAIDYA


The slew of casualties reported this year during the bull-catching event Hori Habba have raised concerns about the safety of animals and spectators, especially with MLA and Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, M.P. Renukacharya, also getting injured.

This popular rural sporting event in Shivamogga, Haveri and Davangere districts is held between Deepavali and Sankranti festival. More than 300 events are held in these three districts every year during this period.

On October 30, a person was gored to death by a bull at a Hori Habba programme in Naregal village of Haveri district. On the same day, a spectator was seriously injured after being attacked by a bull in Hitla village of Shikaripur taluk in Shivamogga. In Akki Alur village of Haveri district, a bull collapsed and died of heart attack when it was being dragged to the ring on Friday. Injuries have been reported at events held in Sorab and Hanagal taluks also.

Hori Habba has acquired commercial proportions and character in recent times, with multinational companies and politicians sponsoring the prizes. When his followers were carrying Mr. Renukacharya on their shoulders to the podium for prize distribution at a Hori Habba competition in Dodderi village of Davangere district, a bull that got scared by the cheers of the crowd ran amok, injuring the BJP leader and three others.

Last year, two persons were gored to death by bulls at separate Hori Habba events in Haveri district, while one person died when the roof of the house on which he was standing to watch the event collapsed in Anavatti village of Shivamogga district.

A police officer in Haveri, on the condition of anonymity, told The Hindu that when they try to streamline Hori Habba by making it mandatory for organisers to put in place safety measures, the politicians who patronise the events as they have huge support from the farming community come in the way. When there was a delay from the part of revenue and police authorities in sanctioning permission for Hori Habba this year, the enthusiasts who had come to Shikaripur with their bulls had submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa requesting his intervention for smooth conduct of the event.

Praveen Kumar M., a Hori Habba enthusiast from Shiralakoppa, said Hori Habba is part of the rural culture and enjoys immense popularity, but should be celebrated by putting in place proper safety measures. “Like those participating in bike racing events, the bull catchers should also wear protective guards before entering the ring. Proper and safe seating arrangements should be made for spectators. As the animals will be under the stress owing to travel and the presence of large crowds, their health should be examined prior to their entry into the ring,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 1:35:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hori-habba-casualties-raise-safety-concerns/article29873171.ece

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