MLA’s presence in bird fight event draws flak

Jajpur: The presence of a ruling BJD law maker at a bird fight event that took place as part of the Baruneswar mela on Makar Sankranti, has sparked a controversy with environmentalists and bird lovers raising voice against the practice.

A traditional ‘Bulbul’ (song bird) bird fight was organized at Baruneswar mela in the district on Makar Sankranti. The bird fight was organized by a local youth club in which local legislator and Biju Janata Dal leader Pramila Malik graced the function as chief guest.

Pramila Malik is a law maker and has taken oath to protect the law. Instead of dissuading the organizer from arranging the bird fight, she enjoyed and patronized the cruel fight,said Manoj Kumar Rout, president of District Congress Committee of Jajpur.

Legal action should be initiated against the local legislator for encouraging and patronizing the birds fight, he said.

Amulya Nayak, member of the People for Animals, alleged that two starved Bulbul birds were engaged in fighting in the Baruneswar mela.

The birds’ legs were tied to rope during the fight, so that they cannot fly. The hungry birds fought a fierce battle over food and suffered injuries, Nayak alleged.

Environmentalist Anirudha Samantray said, ?Bulbuls are scheduled (4) birds and are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. It?s a pity that the authorities haven?t been able to stop the practice even after repeated appeals.?

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Cuttack, Sudarshan Behera said that his office had received a complaint of Bulbul bird fight and that the Jajpur Range officer has been asked to conduct an inquiry into the matter?.

Malik, however, rejected allegation and claimed that she was in no way linked to the alleged violation of the law.

“The organisers had invited me to the function. It is part of their tradition. How can I stop them in performing their rituals, Malik said.