Cuttack: Orissa High Court has banned animal sacrifice during the famous Chhatar Jatra festival at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district.
The court order came while hearing a PIL filed by social activist Jayanti Das seeking a ban on animal slaughter during Dussehra at the Maa Manikeswari shrine.
A bench of Chief Justice Sanju Panda and Justice Sangam Kumar directed the state government to clamp restrictions on the killing of animals and birds by devotees near the temple during Chhatar Jatra.
The bench also asked the government to create awareness against the superstitious practice of sacrificing animals to appease the deity during the festival. Besides, it directed the Kalahandi SP to keep vigil on persons planning to create ruckus by flouting the ban order.
As per the order, a camp will be set up at all the villages near the Manikeswari temple to spread awareness. Moreover, CCTV cameras will be installed to record the festival. The administration will also approach schools, colleges and students to help in spreading awareness against animal sacrifice at the shrine.
Jayanti Das of Mohammadia Bazaar in Cuttack had moved the HC in 2017 opposing animal sacrifice during Chhatar Jatra. She had also written to the Prime Minister, accusing the state administration of inaction on curbing animal slaughter during the festival.
Based on the allegation, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had directed the Chief Secretary to take steps against the customary animal sacrifices at the shrine.
Besides, Das had also appealed to the Kalahandi district and police administrations to ban animal sacrifice during festival. However, the barbaric practice continued every year despite the ban by the district administration.