High Court bans animal sacrifice in Tripura temples

The Tripura High Court on Friday ordered a ban on the tradition of animal sacrifice in temples.

The High Court’s Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjoy Karol and justice Arindam Lodh gave the verdict in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Subhash Bhattacharjee, a retired judge.

The judgement reads, “no person including the state shall be allowed to sacrifice any animal/bird within the precincts of any one of the temples within the State of Tripura…”

The High Court went against the state government’s counsel who said in the court that animal sacrifice practice is a “ long accepted procedure of Hindu rituals of the Tantrik method of worship of the Dash Maha Vidya” (ten forms of the Goddess of the Hindus) and asked the state government to open shelter homes for rearing animals donated by the devotees in the temples.

“Government of Tripura has proposed the development of Devi Tripureswari temple as a favourite international tourist destination. People of all beliefs and faiths are likely to visit in large number. Anyone of the devotees desirous of offering any animal out of personal faith, belief or desire, may do so but shall take back the animal and under no circumstance, any activity of animal sacrifice shall be permitted to be carried out. Prudently, the Government can earmark land for an opening shelter home for rearing such livestock,” the order reads.

The court also ordered the district magistrates of West and Gomari districts to ensure implementation of the orders at Tripureswari Temple and Chaturdas Devata Bari Temple located in their jurisdictions.

The court also ordered the chief secretary to ensure the installation of cameras at the two temples where the act of animal sacrifice are carried out profusely.

According to an agreement signed in 1949 that merged Tripura with the Union of India, the state government sponsors animal sacrifices in many temples. In Tripureswari temple (one of the 51 Shaktipeeths), one goat is sacrificed under the patronage of the concerned district administration and also “a substantial number of animals” on special occasions like Diwali.

According to the petitioner, animal sacrifice is a practice of cruelty against animals.

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