KATHMANDU/BIRGUNJ, July 29: The Gadhimai Temple Trust has dismissed Tuesday’s reports in international media that claimed that the trust has agreed to stop animal sacrifice during Gadhimai festival.
“We have not made any statement regarding stopping animal sacrifices during the festival,” Ram Chandra Sah, chairperson of the trust, told Republica.
The Times of India on Tuesday quoted Sah in the news report that the Gadhimai Temple Trust had formally declared an end to animal sacrifice.
Likewise, AFP quoted Motilal Kushwaha, secretary of the Trust, that the authority had decided to completely stop the practice of animal sacrifice.
However, chairperson Sah expressed surprise over the media reports. He further clarified that the trust never urges devotees to sacrifice animals, but only manages the event. “We never ask devotees to carry out animal sacrifice,” he told Republica.
Gadhimai festival, held every five years since the last three centuries, is the world’s biggest animal sacrifice event held at Bariyarpur VDC in Bara district.
Thousands of animals are sacrificed as part of ritual meant to please the deity, Gadhimai. Animal welfare activists across the world, including India and Nepal, which have been protesting the massacre of animals at Gadhimai festival, have hailed the news.
Hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims from Nepal and neighboring India descend on Bariyarpur VDC in Bara to observe the Gadhimai fair.
Around half a million buffaloes, goats, chickens and other animals were sacrificed at Gadhimai in 2009, which significantly reduced last year with mounting pressure from the activists across the world.