Dehra Dun : In what is being seen as a welcome change, the people of this small mountain state are slowly but steadily doing away with the traditional sacrifice of animals, specially goats and male buffaloes, at religiously important congregations and â€˜melasâ€™, courtesy efforts of NGOs and animal lovers.
The 500-year-old Bukhal Mela, near Chaurikhal in Pauri district of Uttarakhand, where people got together for the traditional sacrifice of a male buffalo to the goddess Kalika was done away with this year when the fair started on Saturday. Even the old practice of sacrificing goats by people whose prayers had been met was done away this year.
While no organization or NGO is taking credit for the doing away of the traditional sacrifice of animals, locals believe that it is the sincere efforts of various organizations polled in with that of the district administration over the years that was responsible for no animals being slaughtered this year. The more important thing is that it was done voluntarily by the people without any coercion.
In the past years one could see the male buffalo to be slaughtered before the deity being led in a procession amongst the beating of â€˜dholâ€™, â€˜darauâ€™ (traditional drums of the region). A large number of goats were also brought by people whose prayers had been met to slaughter before the goddess in thanksgiving. This year even such people were convinced to refrain from making the thanksgiving ritual.
However, district magistrate Pauri M C Upreti said that though the efforts and sentiments of the district administration to ensure that there was no slaughter of animals at the fair this year was by and large respected by the people, but there were certain diehards, who still wanted to sacrifice goats at the alter.
He said that such persons did approach the fair grounds with the goats meant for sacrifice, but barriers had been put up at various points to check this. â€œThere was no coercion used to refrain them fron not slaughtering the animals, but they were convinced that the thanksgiving to the deity could be done without indulging in the traditional sacrifice and thankfully they agreedâ€, he claimed.
Meanwhile the residents of the region claim that they have acceded to the request of the district administration to do away with the traditional sacrifice of animals at the fair, and now the concerned authorities on their part should take greater interest in the developmental activities in the region so that there is prosperity amongst the people. This will give the message that the deity has accepted the practice of doing away with the sacrifice of animals and in return has brought prosperity to the people, they claimed.