Sulia festival: Law versus tradition

Bolangir: It is a peculiar situation at the tribal hamlets of Khairaguda and Kumuria. While the district and the police administrations have taken preventive measures to stop animal sacrifice for the Sulia festival on Tuesday following the order of the High Court, the tribals are equally determined to continue the age-old tradition and conducting secret meetings to foil the attempts by the administration.

The district administration has clamped Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code to prevent unlawful gathering at Khairaguda and Kumuria and imposed Section 107 against 18 persons supporting animal sacrifice.

The Sulia Yatra Committee, spearheading the pro-sacrifice movement got a shot in the arm when the District Tribal Sangh lent its support to the tradition of animal sacrifice. However, the Sulia Sanskar Manch, the organisation fighting against animal sacrifice and the petitioner in the High Court has urged the district administration and the police to take all necessary steps to prevent the age-old inhuma practice in the name of tradition. Said its Convener, Shantanu Kumar Nayak," The practice of animal sacrifice must stop at any cost. The police must take a very tough stand against the supporters of animal sacrifice."

The district administration has imposed Section 107 against 18 persons including the chief servitor at the Sulia Peetha at Khairaguda. The sub-divisional police officer, Bolangir, Mahendra Kumar Patel, said,"We will try to maintain law and order in the presence of a magistrate." Be that as it may, one things is clear. At Khairaguda and Kumuria, it is law of the land versus tradition.