Hundreds of tribals armed with traditional weapons took out processions from Khairaguda and Khumuria villages to the three worship places at around 9 am where prohibitory orders were clamped to prevent animal sacrifice.
As Sec 144 was enforced at Sana Khala, Bada Khala and Nua Khala, a new worship place was prepared for the bloody event. In full glare of armed police personnel, senior police officials and district administration officials, tribals went ahead with their age old rituals at this site.
Since last four years, the Orissa High Court has been issuing orders to the district administration to prevent the altar ritual. This year also the court in its interim directive had asked the district administration to enforce the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Thousands of animals including goats, hens and buffalos were offered at the Sulia shrine today.
“Animals were sacrificed here today. Despite administration’s interference, the pro-ritual members performed the rituals,” Joint Sulia Puja Committee Secretary Maya Pradhani said.
Earlier, the district administration in association with Sulia Sanskar Manch activists had launched an awareness campaign against the bloody ritual. However, it did not bear any impact on people’s mind as it yielded no results.
Meanwhile, the district administration and police officials have said they would initiate stern action against the law offenders.
“We found beheaded animals here. Action would be taken against the lawbreakers,” Bolangir Additional Superintendent of Police Srikant Mishra said.
“Action would be taken against the persons who have defied the law,” Bolangir Sub Collector Rajendra Kumar Patnaik said.
It may be recalled that prohibitory orders were clamped at Banapur Bhagabati shrine in order to prevent animal sacrifice during Dussehra on mahastami last year. Though the administration succeeded in disallowing the ritual, the temple rituals were however stopped in protest. The main temple door was locked. After several protests and agitation, the two parties came across the table and sorted out the differences.