Sulia Yatra Takes Off With Sacrifice Of Hundreds Of Animals & Birds In Odisha’s Balangir

Balangir: Despite the concern of animal rights groups, hundreds of animals and birds were sacrificed during Sulia Yatra in Odisha’s Balangir on Tuesday.

According to sources, the villagers, mostly comprising tribals, thronged Sulia shrines at Bada Khala in Khairguda and Sana Khala in Kumuria village under Deogarh block of the district on Monday night. Holding traditional weapons and the animals to be sacrificed, they went in a huge procession to the shrines where the priests performed puja.

The rituals, called ‘Nishi Puja’, went on throughout the night as the tribals continued to come to the shrines. The entire area wore a festive look with the devotees wearing new dresses offered puja in the temple capus.

The puja culminated with sacrifice of the animals and birds including like goat, sheep, buffalo calf, cock, pigeon and fowl on Tuesday morning.

The district administration made adequate security arrangement to maintain the law and order. As many as five platoon police forces, Home Guards and ODRAF teams were deployed in the area.

During Sulia Yatra, the tribals offer puja with animal sacrifice to propitiate the presiding deity on second Tuesday of Pousa month in Odia calendar every year. They believe that offering blood of animals and birds to Sulia, their traditional deity, brings good harvest and prosperity.
It may be mentioned here that there was a tussle between the district administration and Zilla Adivasi Sangha in the past after the Orissa High Court issued an order to abolish the practice of mass killing of animals in 2005.
But, after the Supreme Court’s verdict in 2017 to respect tribal rituals and traditions, the district administration has kept itself away from opposing the animal offering.

“As per the guidelines of the Supreme Court, we are promoting awareness among the people and the festival is being observed with devotion and in a peaceful manner. After discussion with the puja committee, the animal which will be sacrificed is being covered up as per the guidelines,” the local Tehsildar told a local TV channel.

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