Indian court rules: check illegal animal flow into Bara

- Chahana Sigdel, Kathmandu

Oct 17, 2014-

The Indian Supreme Court has issued an interim order to the Union of India to check illegal movement of animals into Nepal.  

A bench headed by Justice Jagdish Singh Kehar on Friday passed the order in response to a petition filed by animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi, seeking urgent directions to prevent ‘illegal transportation’ across the border for the upcoming Gadhimai festival. On October 14, the court issued a notice to the Union of India and the state governments of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, from where a majority of the animals are transported. Union Minister and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi said the impact of the decision will depend on how seriously Nepal takes it. “It’s important that Nepal bans this festival. Otherwise animals will come in no matter what order is given across the virtually unmanned border,” Gandhi told the Post.

During the Gadhimai festival, which is observed every five years at Bariyapur in Bara district, buffaloes, rats, snakes, pigeons, chicken, ducks, goats and sheep are sacrificed to appease goddess Gadhimai. Almost 70 percent of these animals are brought from India as devotees from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also attend the month-long festival.

On September 25, the Indian home ministry had directed the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh to check the movement of animals along the Indo-Nepal border areas during the month of November. The Armed Border Force and Indian police have already been directed to step up action to that end.

Meanwhile, Nepal govenrment has said that it is drafting an action plan to regulate the mass sacrifice of animals out in the public. Senior veterinary Umesh Dahal, who is also the member secretary of the government committee commissioned to work on Gadhimai preparations, said the action plan will be released within a few days to address the issues of animal welfare. “We didn’t pay attention to the sacrifice in the past because we saw that this was a cultural thing, but given the potential health hazards and the way animals are treated, we are endorsing an action plan to regulate the process,” Dahal said.

After the animals are sacrificed, their carcasses are usually left to rot out in the open, turning the place into a breeding ground for germs and bacteria that cause varous diseases. “The place itself becomes an unbearable sight and the smell is appalling to say the least,” said Dahal.

Dahal, however, said that they will not work to stop sacrifice altogether, but towards ensuring “the welfare of animals” by putting up animal health inspection posts and allowing only those animals to be sacrificed that have been certified. The two-day sacrificial ritual falls on November 28 and 29.

Published: 18-10-2014 08:49

Next Story

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment