Bhawanipatna: The age-old faith took precedence over reasoning as more than 40,000 animals including goats, hen and roosters were sacrificed in full public view today at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district on the occasion of famous ‘Chhatar Jatra’ of the presiding goddess Manikeswari despite a ban imposed by district administration on the gory ritual.
The ban was clamped under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
It happened in presence of police and district administration officials as the procession of ‘Chhatar (umbrella) Jatra’ passed from the Kalahandi royal palace till Jenakhal, a distance of 3 km, in the town.
The mass sacrifice held despite a massive awareness campaign by the district administration and animal rights activists.
Devotees spent sleepless night yesterday on the occasion of ‘Mahastami’ to watch various rituals, including carrying the ceremonial ‘Chhatra’ of the deity to Jenakhal, after the performance of ‘Sandhi Puja’.
In the early hours today, the ‘Chhatra’ returned to the original abode accompanied by ‘Jenavadya’ to the sounds of ‘ghanta’, ‘kahali’ and ‘ghumura’ and dancers performing ‘Ghumura’ and martial art forms. Devotees lined up along the road for a glimpse of the goddess
The Kalahandi district administration made elaborate arrangements for the smooth conduct of the fete.