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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhawanipatna: A day after the Orissa High Court issued a directive to stop animal sacrifice during the annual Chhatar Jatra observed at Manikeswari temple in the town, public have expressed their disapproval over the stricture.

Taking cognizance of thousands of animals sacrificed every year on the streets of Bhawanipatna on the occasion of Chhatar jatra, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday slammed the district administration for failing to stop it.

However, the order of the High Court has brought widespread dissent among the locals who revere Goddess Manikeswari as their presiding deity and see this as an obstruction in her worship.

Paramananda Majhi, a local of Bhawanipatna said, "If the court sees animal sacrifice as a crime, then it should first close all the slaughterhouses all over the state which provide meat for the people to eat."

Satyanarayan Mohapatra, another intellectual said, "If the High Court thinks that we are all superstitious, then what should the other 'so-called' civilized society be called which slaughters animals daily to eat meat."

Nihar Ranjan Mishra, a lawyer said, "It's not practically possible on the part of district administration to completely halt the tradition. Animal sacrifice is a part and parcel of our religious beliefs."

In an order, the State's apex court said that a mass public awareness programme should be taken up by the district administration before one month of the commencement of the festival to sensitise people about the evils of animal sacrifice. The court has also directed the authorities to install CCTV cameras at the spot along with the street on which the tableau of Goddess Manikeswari moves.

Terming the animal sacrifices as a failure of the local administration, the High Court has warned the district Collector and SP to hold them personally responsible if even one animal is sacrificed in the festival from this year.

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