Animal sacrifice, India

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Goddess Aradhya Devi

Bunkhal village Pauri district Uttarakhand

Mass animal sacrifice in Uttarakhand village

Times of India

DS Kunwar


Law takes a backseat when it comes to religious sentimentality in India. In a grave violation of law, more than 31 male buffaloes and 135 goats were sacrificed in a temple premises to appease Goddess Aradhya Devi allegedly by her devotees during a day-long annual fair at Bunkhal village in Pauri district.

Police sources said although the practice of mass animal sacrifice was a cognizable offence under Prevention of Cruelty Act, it had been going on for several years right under the nose of senior Uttarakhand administrative and police authorities including Pauri District Magistrate (DM) Dilip Jawalkar and SP Pushpak Jyoti in Dehradun and Pauri.

Police sources said senior administrative and police authorities decided to put a check on mass animal sacrifice at the Bunkhal temple after members from different animal lovers' organizations and groups who find the practice "inhuman, brutal and cruel" raised their voices.

The people of Uttarakhand said they were shocked to see that despite their crusade against this age-old practice of mass animal sacrifice, the Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank government had not bothered to impose a blanket ban on this inhuman practice. Instead the government offered an excuse that "the practice of mass animal sacrifice had been handed down from centuries ago and was a part of religious rituals and so it was not possible to check it to by force."

Residents of nearby villages including Chorikhal in Pauri district, told TOI that as per this practice, the animals are first taken to nearby Chorikhal village where vermilion is applied on their foreheads. Then they are taken to Bunkhal temple for "sacrifice." They are slaughtered one by one, with sharp-edged weapons -mini and huge daggers (Khunkhri and Farsa) -by the villagers while offering their special prayers to the goddess.

Pauri DM Jawalkar and SP Jyoti said they had taken more than 12 goats and 23 buffaloes into their custody which were being taken for sacrifice and lodged FIR against all those responsible for mass animal sacrifice.

The officials said they had yet to identify and ascertain the exact number of persons involved in mass animal sacrifice.

"They all will be named in FIR lodged in the police station for breach of peace under section 151 of CRPC and under prevention of cruelty act as soon they are identified", the officers said.

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