Sharmili Mallick

Bolangir: Tension surfaced at Mathakhai temple, some five kilometres away from Bolangir town, after a group of tribals pressed for performing animal sacrifice at the temple.

However, the move was opposed by a non-tribal group which alleged that despite the ban on animal sacrifice, the tribal group was adamant on performing animal sacrifice in the temple.

"Two years earlier, the district administration banned animal sacrifice here to which the non-tribals agreed and also gave signatures. Last year, no sacrifice was performed but this year they are stubborn on performing sacrifice in the temple," said a member of the non-tribal community.

Meanwhile, two platoons of police force have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order. SP, Additional SP and an officer in-charge of the magistrate have also reached the spot to monitor the situation closely.

The non-tribal groups said as the temple is based on Vaishnav dharma, sacrifice is impious. On the other hand, the tribals claimed that as Goddess Mathakhai is their presiding deity, animal sacrifice in the temple is their right.

"We held talks with both the groups and the tribal community has assured us that they will come in procession and perform puja without any sacrifice," informed an official of the Bolangir district administration.

Later, the tribals arrived at the Mathakhai temple and performed a special puja without sacrifice.