Shimla, Sept. 1: Himachal Pradesh High Court today banned animal sacrifice in places of worship in the state, terming the practice a “social evil” that needs to be “curbed”.
“No person shall perform or offer to perform or serve, assist or participate or offer to serve any sacrifice of animal in any place of religious worship, ceremony, yagnas... including all land and buildings near places of religious worship forthwith,” a two-judge bench said.
The order came on some PILs that had wanted the court to rule on the issue because of the ambiguity over whether such sacrifices could be termed a religious practice.
“Faith, ritualistic worship and its continuation must change in a modern era. People are required to be sensitised on this issue by the state government,” the court said.
The bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur praised the petitioners for having raised a question of great public importance, besides making “startling” revelations about the manner in which thousands of animals are sacrificed every year in the name of religious worship.
“Innocent animals cannot be permitted to be sacrificed to appease God or (any) deity in a barbaric manner. Compassion is the basic tenet of all religions. The practice is a social evil and is required to be curbed,” the court said.
The bench said it had gone through photographs provided by the petitioners on the animals killed in the name of religion.
The petitioners had said that the practice was common in many temples of the hill state, including those in capital Shimla, Kullu, Mandi and Sirmaur.
The PILs had pointed out the animals sacrificed mostly included goats and sheep, with the numbers increasing sharply in the festival season starting later this month. The practice is not uncommon in Bengal during Puja.
The court directed all district magistrates, superintendents of police, sub-divisional officers and officers in charge of police stations to take steps to enforce the directive.