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India hands off Shambo

London, July 26: As monks today fought off attempts by health inspectors and police to drag Shambo away, India House in London made it plain it would not respond to the pleas of Britain’s one million Hindus to help them save their “holy” bull.

Diplomats indicated that the decision to put down Shambo was “an internal matter” for the British government. The High Commission also did not want to be seen favouring one community over another, meaning it did not want to be seen showing a pro-Hindu bias.

Today was a day of high passion and emotion at Skanda Vale religious community in west Wales where monks, supported by a band of 100 chanting Hindus, battled to keep Shambo’s would-be killers at bay. The latter want Shambo put down because he has failed a bovine tuberculosis test but the monks insist the bull can be kept isolated or even sent to a sanctuary in India (the authorities won’t allow Shambo to be shipped to India, either).

Vets and animal inspectors were denied entry when they arrived at 8am to take Shambo away for slaughter. They returned with a small group of police officers at about 2pm with a court warrant, but were still unable to gain access to the six-year-old Friesian.

A warrant was stuck to an office door while officials “took advice” on what to do next.

Worshippers laughed as one of the monks, Brother Alex, said the Welsh Assembly government had asked the gathering to disperse because “they are worried it might be upsetting Shambo”. The devotees sat on the floor under cover from heavy rain as they prayed for the animal.

The authorities finally succeeded in entering Shambo’s shed late tonight and led Shambo away to be slaughtered.

Brother Alex said: “We are not protesting, we are worshipping God. This is about the freedom of human beings to express their religious values. We are simply determined to do our duty, no more, no less than that. We can’t be party to the destruction of life.”

Another monk, Brother Michael, said: “The Assembly government’s approach is that there is no value to life. They have said that it is acceptable to commit an act of gross sacrilege against the temple and the Hindu faith. How is this acceptable' How can killing be acceptable' Shambo represents the sanctity of life.”

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