Bhubaneswar: Thousands of animals, including roosters, were sacrificed in Odisha as part of an annual religious ceremony despite a government ban and protests by animal rights activities, an official said Friday.
The animals were killed Thursday in Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district, about 430 km from here, despite a ban under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The animals were sacrificed during a procession of local deity Manikeswari on the occasion of Mahashtami, one of the most important days of Durga Puja.
Witnesses along the four-kilometer-long procession said more than 3,000 animals - including goats and sheep - were killed.
"The administration has taken many steps to motivate the people not to sacrifice animals. But still, they made the 'sacrifices'," Superintendent of Police B.K. Ray told IANS.
But "the number of animals sacrificed has gone down", he said.
Scores of animals were also sacrificed in the Sirlo Shakti temple in Raghunathpur village in the coastal district of Jagatsinghpur, an official said.
Similarly, animals were sacrificed in the temples of goddess Durga and other deities in other districts including Puri, Kendrapada and Bolangir.