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Hindu temple cancels animal sacrifice
Intervention by president forces ban on annual ritualDemonstrators outside the temple have met with success this year
- ucanews.com reporter, Chilaw
- Sri Lanka
- September 3, 2012
Hindu devotees were to sacrifice around 300 goats and nearly 1000 chickens at the popular Sri Badrakali Amman Kovil temple in Munneswaram, north of Colombo, onÂ Saturday.
Chief priest Muththu Sivapada Sundaram announced that the annual event would not take place this year, by request of President Rajapaksa. He asked themÂ to refrain while the sacred Kapilawasthu relics of Lord Buddha are on display in Sri Lanka. They will be shown until September 12 at various locations.
Over 1,000 monks and activists demonstrated in front of the temple last week, while some animal lovers went to court to seek a permanent ban on the practice. After a postponement, the Court of Appeal is due to hear 14 petitions tomorrow.
â€śWe cannot stop this ritual, as Hindu devotees bring animals to please their goddess Kali, but we respect the presidentâ€™s request,â€ť the chief priest told ucanews.com.
â€śThis is a collective decision taken by our board of priests, even though Chilaw Court issued an order in favor of us.â€ť
The issue of animal sacrifice generates controversy and heated debate on a regular basis.
â€śHinduism is a peaceful religion, it does not support such a cruel act. God cannot be satisfied by the blood of innocent animals,â€ť said Venerable Passaramulle Dayawansha, a prominent Buddhist monk. â€śIt's time to end killings in the name of religion.â€ť
Lalani Perera, a lawyer and advocate for the animal rights activists, said: â€śSri Lanka does not have a strict law but these slaughters breach the provisions of the Cruelty to Animalsâ€™ Law and the Butchers Ordinance. We have filed a case with Colombo magistrates.â€ť
Government minister Mervyn Silva appeared to side with the protesters at a press conference, when he said that the ritual is not mandated in any religious scripture. "Being in a Buddhist country, we should not engage in these types of criminal acts," he said.
But many practising Hindus are not happy about the ban. â€śThis is a vow to the gods,â€ť said one of them, Subramaniyam Saraswathee.
â€śMany parents bring their children to the temple to receive blessings,â€ť she said. â€śThis is a serious issue.â€ť
Judge orders stop to animal sacrifices