Hundreds of animals sacrificed in Odisha’s Chhatar Jatra festival despite ban

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Kalahandi: Hundreds of animals were sacrificed today at Bhawanipatna in Odisha’s Kalahandi district on the occasion of famous Chhatar Jatra of the goddess Manikeswari, officials said.

The worshipers went ahead with the sacrifice despite a ban by the Supreme Court.

According to a report in PTI, people in Kendrapara district stopped the age-old tradition of killing animals on Mahastami at Panchuvarahi temple, the officials said.

Despite awareness created by the local administration to refrain from killing animals, goats and sheep were sacrificed during the Chhatar Jatra of Maa Manikeswari, the presiding Goddess of Kalahandi district, the PTI report added.

The mass sacrifice was carried out in the presence of policemen and administrative officers, the officials said.

As per rituals, animals are killed on the road when the procession of Chhatar (umbrella) goes from the main temple to Jenakhol, a distance of 3 km, in the town.

The animals were offered to the deity to fulfil the wishes of devotees, an official said.

Those who got their wishes fulfilled, released pigeons as a mark of devotion, he said.

The PTI report added that the Kalahandi district ASP Akshya Kumar Das said as many as 14 platoons of police force and 70 senior officials were deployed for the festival.

A report from Kendrapara district said that local people of Rajnagar block set a new precedent by abstaining from performing animal sacrifice ritual at the Panchuvarahi shrine.

“Though local people in these vulnerable seaside pockets widely believe that a ritual of this sort would save them from scourge of the sea, they said no to the practice this time. They deserve appreciation for giving up the cruel ritual,” said Kendrapara Collector, Reghu G.

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