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Ban imposed on sacrifice

Balangir, Jan. 14: The Balangir district administration today imposed prohibitory orders at the main site of the Sulia festival to ensure abolition of the tradition of animal sacrifices even as tribal people vowed to carry out the practice.

General secretary of the Paschim Odisha Adivasi Kalyan Mahasangh Niranjan Bishi announced that there would be animal sacrifice during the festival at any cost. The festival will be held tomorrow.

Mohan Bhoi of the Sulia Sanskar Manch, an outfit which has been fighting against the tradition of animal sacrifice, alleged that the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animal, a government organisation, appeared defunct though the district collector was its chairman and the police superintendent, its vice-chairman.

“The administration has been promulgating Section 144 at the festival site for the past several years. It is all they do. Only prohibitory orders won’t serve the purpose. They need to strongly implement it. Despite the orders, people go on mercilessly killing animals. Moreover, it happens in the presence of policemen and officials of the district administration every year,” he said.

The district administration has clamped Section 144 of CrPC at the main festival site in Khairguda to see that no animal sacrifice takes place.

Balangir district collector Debaraj Mishra said since it was a tribal festival, the administration would see that the tribals’ religious sentiments were not hurt. “It is a festival of the Kondh tribals and animal sacrifice is a ritual of the festival. We will see that their religious sentiments are not hurt,” he said.

The tribals are adamant to carry out the practice. Bishi said the tradition would continue. “There is no question of us going back on our stand. This is the tradition of tribal people to sacrifice animals during the festival and we will see that it continues,” he said.