Nepalese campaigners commemorate ‘World’s Largest Animal Sacrifice’, announce grassroots movement
On November 24 and 25, representatives of AWNN commemorated the ‘world’s largest animal sacrifice’ which took place at Gadhimai Festival a year earlier. They did so by lighting candles in the memory of each animal killed. The network also announced a grassroots movement in Bara and Parsa districts to promote vegetarian sacrifices during the next Gadhimai festival, scheduled for 2014.
“I felt at peace for the first time after witnessing some of the gruelling killings a year ago,” said AWNN President Pramada Shah, after the lighting of 250,000 oil lamps at the Gadhimai temple. “What made me feel even better was that the priest who presided over the killings a year ago this time conducted our ritual,” added Shah.
Chief priest Mangal Chaudhary helped the campaigners to make vegetarian offerings to the image of the goddess Gadhimai and presided over the ‘lakh batti balne’ (lighting of lamps) ritual.
“I don’t actively motivate people to kill animals, but I can’t stop them when they come here to do so,” the priest argued. He however promised to support the Stop Animal Sacrifice campaign ‘in any way I can’.
According to Shah the ritual was an important one: “In our culture we remember living beings by lighting lamps. It is also a way to purify the temple area, which was covered in blood just a year ago and continues to see animal sacrifices,” says Shah.
Executive member Manoj Gautam, together with campaign coordinators, Santosh Khatiwada and Krishna Singh facilitated two interaction programmes in Bara and Parsa districts. Apart from State Minister Karima Begum, the meetings were attended by political and religious leaders, business people and representatives from the District Administrative Office, Department of Livestock , various NGOs and the media.
State Minister Begum said animal sacrifice cannot be stopped but promised her support to the campaign.
AWNN , with the help of local NGO Janahit Sanchar, will launch a 4-year social mobilisation programme to support a grassroots movement against animal sacrifice.