Animal sacrifice in Tripura temples banned

Animal sacrifice in Tripura temples banned

TheTripura High Court has put a blanket ban on animal sacrifice in temples and byany individual or organisation.

Theorder was passed following a PIL filed by former district judge SubhasBhattacharjee, seeking a ban on animal sacrifices, in April last year.

Inthe order, the Chief Justice Sanjoy Karol and Justice Arindam Lodh on Fridayinstructed the State Chief Secretary to strictly comply with the directive andruled that the district magistrates should ensure strict compliance with theorder, especially at the Mata Tripureshwari temple at Udaipur and theChaturdash Devta temple in West Tripura district.

Theorder said that animals brought for sacrifice to the temples may be rituallyconsecrated by priests and then sent to slaughter houses. Similarly, noindividual should be allowed to commit animal sacrifice anywhere, and the ordershould be strictly complied with.

Arguingin the case, Tripura Advocate General Arun Kanti Bhowmik said that such ablanket ban would amount to infringing on the fundamental right of religiousfreedom enshrined in Article 25 of the Constitution. But the bench found theargument unacceptable, pointing out that the Constitution itself bans animalsacrifice.

Animalsacrifice under government patronage has been continuing in the temples of MataTripureshwari and Chaturdash Devta as part of the Instrument of Accessionsigned by princely Tripura on August 13, 1947, and as part of the mergeragreement signed in October, 1949.

TheGovernment of India had given a commitment that public funds would be used tomaintain and continue the customs and religious rituals in these royallypatronised temples.

Significantly,no documentary evidence was produced before the court substantiating thatanimal sacrifice was included in the Instrument of Accession and the mergeragreement.

Meanwhile,reacting to the High Court order, royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman todaysaid that the court cannot overrule the provisions of the merger agreementinked on October 15, 1949.

"TheHigh Court could have consulted with all the stakeholders and representativesof civil societies before passing the judgment. I am personally against crueltytowards animals", he told media persons.

TheTripura Government is likely to file a petition in the Supreme Court againstthe judgment passed by the High Court on Friday, top officials said in Agartalaon Saturday.

Tripuraroyal family leaders said that the High Court cannot overrule the provisions ofthe merger agreement which was signed on October 15, 1949 between regentMaharani Kanchan Prabha Devi and the Governor General of India.

Meanwhile,animal rights activists have welcomed the ban on animal sacrifice, saying itwould end cruelty to animals in the name of religion.

AdvocateGeneral Bhowmik said that the State government after studying the High Courtverdict may file a petition before the Supreme Court against the judgment.

TheHigh Court order said that the traditional practice of animal sacrifice wastotally banned at the Gudhima temple in Nepal and in a very old temple inHimachal Pradesh.

"TheState Government should give due publicity and also sensitise the generalpublic of the constitutional values and implementation of the Court order," theHigh Court said.

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