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Sulia slaughters law

Balangir, Jan. 15: Thousands of people today celebrated the traditional tribal Sulia festival by slaughtering animals at Bad Khala, about 25km from here flouting prohibitory orders.

This is for the first time in seven years that the people had ventured into a prohibited area to carry out the ritual.

A new khala was created after 2007 when sacrificing of animals was not allowed at Bad Khala and San Khala.

The tribal people seemed jubilant after performing the sacrifices at Bad Khala. The administration said it had done everything it could do to avoid the killing of animals.

Dalapati Barik of Tarabha, who had gone to see the Sulia festival, said the animal sacrifices took place in the presence of police and other government officials.

“Police just remained mute spectators while they killed the animals at Bad Khala. It is not sufficient to just declare a curfew, you have to implement it too,” he said.

Sulia Sanskar Manch, the outfit that is fighting against animal slaughter, is not happy with the role of the administration this year. “This is sheer failure of the administration,” said convener of the outfit Santanu Naik.

“We demand the arrest of those who flouted the orders of the high court and slaughtered animals. We also demand action against the district officials and cops who were present at the site where the animal sacrifices was carried out,” he said.

According to a conservative estimate, at least 1,000 fowls, 400 goats, sheep and about 50 buffaloes were slaughtered.

Balangir police superintendent R. Prakash said the administration had done everything it could do.

“Adequate police personnel had been deployed to maintain law and order. Some sacrifice has been performed, but we are discouraging it so that it doesn’t happen on a massive scale. All the three sites where the sacrifices took place have been cordoned off by the police and we are restraining people from visiting the spot with animals. We are only allowing people with coconuts and other fruits,” Prakash said.