Security stepped up as Gadhimai festival starts

- LAXMI SAH, Bara
Security stepped up as Gadhimai festival starts

Nov 19, 2014-

With the commencement of Gadhimai festival, reportedly the largest religious slaughter in the world that is held once every five years, security has been tightened in the venue and surrounding spots.

While 16 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have been installed at the temple premises and various locations around the festival grounds, some 1,300 personnel have been deployed for the security of devotees participating in the festival. The security personnel manning as well as patrolling the perimeter of the venue comprise of plain-clothes policemen, Nepal Police and as well Armed Police Force personnel.

“As incidents of robbery and chain-snatching were common during the festival in the past, we have taken extensive measures to curb any untoward incidents,” said ‘festival security commander’ Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Rabindra Regmi, adding that the security personnel have been deployed for 24 hours to ensure security during the festival which began on Monday and will continue for 15 days. Meanwhile, Ram Chandra Sah, chairperson of Gadhimai Trust, said that they had installed the CCTVs to discourage and keep a check on incidents of theft and robbery of valuable materials given as prayer offerings by the devotees. While the festival grounds have come alive with fun-filled and entertainment activities such as circuses and traditional performances in order to attract participants’ attention, thousands of devotees are eagerly waiting for the sacrificial ritual that is carried out on November 28 and 29 with the goal of appeasing the goddess of power.

The widespread criticism from animal rights activist in Nepal and India calling for an end to the sacrifices has had but a little impact as initial estimate of festival management committee puts the figure of animal sacrifice at 30,000 this year.

However, the interim order restricting the illegal movement of animals from India to Nepal passed by the Indian Supreme Court last week is likely to have an effect on the number of sacrifices during the festival as 70 percent of the animals, mostly buffaloes, are brought in from India.

The Nepal government, however, is yet to deliver an official statement on the issue. Meanwhile, the Department of Livestock has readied an action plan to ensure better management of the slaughter. The action plan enlists provisions for animal health inspection and post sacrifice management to maintain hygiene and control spread of diseases.

‘Ritual sacrifices should not be stopped’

BARA: Industry Minister Mahesh Basnet has defended the tradition of animal sacrifice during the Gadhimai festival, stating that it was “a crucial part of the religious practice.”

Inaugurating a health camp organised during  the festival on Wednesday, he said, “As no one stops hundreds of thousands of people from sacrificing animals during Dashain, the voluntary killings of animals for religious purposes during Gadhimai cannot be stopped,” Basnet said. He alleged that various organisations of Nepal and India were trying to stop the sacrifice with the intention to obstruct the festival. (PR)

Published: 20-11-2014 10:55

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