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Assam’s traditional buffalo fight-Moh-Juj

Published: 9th Feb, 2024


The Gauhati High Court has temporarily halted any future buffalo fight, known as moh-juj in Assamese, in response to a plea by PETA.

What is Moh-Juj?

  • The traditional buffalo fight (Moh-Juj) is an integral Bihu celebration of Assam.
  • Buffalo or bulbul or nightingale fights have been traditionally organised as part of the Bhogali Bihu celebrations.
  • It is held during the Magh Bihu celebrations in mid-January every year.


  • The Supreme Court outlawed Jallikattu and bullock cart races in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively in 2014, and later stayed a central government order in 2016 to permit them.
    • Jallikattu is a 2,000 years old competitive bull taming sport in which contestants attempt to tame a bull for a prize, wherein if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.
  • Jallikattu belt: It is revered across the Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul districts of Tamil Nadu.
  • In May 2023, a five-judge constitution bench, however, upheld the validity of laws passed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka to allow the bull-taming sport Jallikattu, bullock-cart races and buffalo racing sport Kambala in their respective region.
    • Kambala is an annual buffalo race held in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka.

 PETA’s Petition

  • The petition by the animal rights organisation highlighted multiple infringements of central laws during these events, including instances of severe cruelty inflicted on buffaloes.
  • Investigation has revealed distressing practices such as physical abuse to incite fights, including slapping, pushing and jabbing the animals with sticks.
  • Buffaloes sustained bloody injuries during the confrontations, enduring further agony from being dragged by ropes threaded through their nostrils.
  • PETA India said buffalo fights violate not only central laws but also core Indian values of compassion and non-violence.
  • The organisation underscored the inherent cruelty of such spectacles and called for their prohibition to safeguard both animal welfare and human rights .advancements

Animal rights and safety:

  • None of the guarantees containedin Part III of the Constitution, which deals with fundamental rights, are explicitly conferred on animals.
  • Therefore, when efforts to legislate on animal welfare were first made, it came from a more elementary ethical preceptthat it was morally wrong to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on animals.
  • It was with this vision in mind that Parliament enacted the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), in 1960.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), 1960:

  • It discusses different forms of cruelty, exceptions, and killing of a suffering animal in case any cruelty has been committed against it, so as to relieve it from further suffering.
  • This Act provides punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.

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