Animals sacrificed in Orissa temple despite government efforts

April 7th, 2008 - 11:50 am ICT by admin  

Bhubaneswar, April 7 (IANS) Like previous years, thousands of devotees assembled near a temple in an Orissa village and observed an animal sacrifice ritual with a hope that a Hindu deity will protect them from disaster. More than 600 goats were sacrificed Sunday at Rakhya Kali temple at Rameswaram village in the coastal district of Bhadrak, some 120 km from here, police said Monday.

“We discussed with the villagers several times over the past fortnight to stop the practice but they did not listen,” District Superintendent of Police R.N. Patra told IANS.

Animal sacrifices were offiered “at the altar of the 400-year-old temple and we could not prevent them, anticipating law and order situation,” he said.

“We had deployed over a dozen policemen but the villagers did not allow them to approach the site of the sacrifice.”

Every year the ritual is observed in this small village, which has a population of about 500 people on the day of ‘Chaitra Amabasya’ (new moon day in the month of Chaitra).

Prior to the ritual, hundreds of villagers register their names with the temple committee, expressing their desire to sacrifice an animal. They also deposit mahasul (money for sacrifice) for the centuries-old ritual.

The villagers say they face floods every year in Genguti - a tributary of river Baitarani. Every year they take shelter days together on the riverbank.

“We sacrifice animals before the deity Rakhya Kali with a hope she will protect our lives from disaster,” said Parikshit Barik, a village temple committee member.

Besides, people also sacrifice animals for fulfilment of their desire, he said.

Animal right activists and the administration tried to motivate the villagers to stop the practice but Barik said stopping the ritual may bring them bad luck.

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