KENDRAPARA: Hundreds of worshippers gathered in Garadapur of Kendrapara district on Monday to witness animal sacrifice at Ma Jagulei temple. Nearly 300 fowl, goats and sheep were slaughtered till midnight as an offering to the goddess to propitiate her.
Held on Gouri Panchami every year in traditional fervour, the animals were first taken to the temple where vermilion was applied on their foreheads. Then they were taken to the altar of the temple for sacrifice.
A priest of the temple Dibakar Rana, said he was pleased with the festival’s turnout. “The goddess needs blood once a year to fulfil the wishes of the devotees,” he added.
However, animal rights activist and the secretary of the district unit of People for Animals Sudhanshu Parida said, “I fail to understand why these animals are sacrificed. Over the years we have been trying to pursue the authorities and devotees to stop such gruesome activities but none pays heed,” he said.
The practice of mass animal sacrifice is a cognizable offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, but it has been going on for several years right under the nose of the administration and police, added Parida.
However, temple authorities refused to stop the tradition on the pretext that sacrificing animals end evil and bring prosperity.