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Despite court ban hundreds of animals were sacrificed in Odisha's Chhatar Jatra festival
The Chhatar Jatra festival has started in Chhatarpur, Bhawanipatna and Kalahandi from 'Maha-astami'. The Chhatra Jatra is a famous annual festival of 'Maa Manikeswari', the presiding goddess of Kalahandi.

As per sources, thousands of animals were sacrificed in the name of the Goddess. Odia TV aired reports showing that a nearly three-kilometre-long stretch of road was covered with blood due to animal sacrifices.

The point to be noted here is that the Odisha High Court has banned animal sacrifice since 2010. Just like every year, this year too, the Odisha HC reminded the state government to ensure that no animal sacrifice takes place, after hearing various petitions from social activists. But despite this, animal sacrifice still couldn't be stopped even though there was heavy deployment of police.

The excuse cited by the administration was that it's difficult to implement the ban as it could hurt the sentiments of thousands of devotees. I do also agree that no law can be implemented if some ten thousand people are adamant on following a ritual in the name of culture. But then, the question arises, should we allow illegal acts to continue in the name of religion & culture?

Sometimes the religious heads, political leaders and other influential people need to come out and go in to public domain to convince and make people aware. I tried to contact some Hindu religious leaders and pro-Hindu politicians as to why they don't try to educate people asking them to refrain from indulging in illegal acts. The simple answer I got was that faith is something which can't be compromised despite a court order.

Is it really so? If yes, then why these people are so vocal against cow slaughtering? Yes, cow slaughtering is illegal, but even that is linked to some faith! If you give concession to Chattar Jatra devotees in the name of faith, culture or ritual, how can you question the Muslims from slaughtering cows? Doesn't India belongs to all who live here, irrespective of their religion?

Many might argue that what about the majority sentiment. My question is, what about minority sentiments? Does a democracy weigh sentiments of majority and minority differently?

A few might start thinking that I am supporting cow slaughtering. No sir, I am not at all supporting cow slaughtering. It's constitutionally banned and I demand a complete ban on cow slaughtering. However, at the same time, I also want a complete ban on animal sacrifice as it has been held illegal by the high court. I can't afford to sound hypocritical by supporting one ritual of one faith and reject the same ritual of another faith.

Let good sense prevail upon all. Let the animal sacrifice across all faiths stop. If we have to survive in a democracy, we need to think neutrally, while also observing the law of the land.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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