Cassian Baliarsingh

Violent clashes broke out between rationalists and ritualists on Tuesday over consumption of food during Chandra Grahan (lunar eclipse) in Berhampur and State Capital Bhubaneswar.

In the first incident reported from Berhampur, a group of ritualists assembled and ransacked the food stall of rationalists. A massive clash erupted between the two groups that eventually led to exchange of blows and fists.

There were reports of pelting of cow dung and stone between the groups. On being informed, police reached the spot and resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the mob.

The rationalists alleged that the ritualists and traditionalists were forcibly trying to implement their thoughts and beliefs. 

“We believe in science. We don’t believe in superstitions. As they cannot prove anything through science, they have come here to attack us with lathis and spread terror and a reign of fear among open-minded people who believe in science and technology,” alleged a rationalist.

“Our motive is to go by science and based on facts. But, since they cannot prove anything, they have resorted to violence,” he added.

“They are free to protest. But, the way they are charging at us with lathis, it has been proved that we might prove their beliefs and superstitions is wrong with science and facts. It shows that they have already lost,” he further added.

“We have been doing this every year. We are trying to spread a word to the people that there is no need to believe in any such beliefs and superstitions.

Similarly, tension erupted in Lohia Academy in Bhubaneswar over food consumption during Lunar Eclipse. A feast was organised in Lohia Academy for rationalists, but traditionalists reached the spot and tried to stop the feast.

“There is nothing written in the holy scriptures against feasting during Lunar Eclipse. But, the traditionalists are forcing it upon people to follow the rituals blindly,” a rationalist argued.

However, a traditionalist alleged that the rationalists had not read the scriptures and this belief has been going on since ages.

Earlier, during Solar Eclipse, a group of rationalists served chicken biryani at a community feast in Bhubaneswar to bust what they termed as ‘blind belief’ that people should not cook or eat during the celestial occurrence.

This had sparked debate between traditionalists who preach against the consumption of food and rationalists who consider such habits as mere ‘superstition’.