Kathmandu: Ignoring the protests raised by animal rights groups and religious organisations, preparations are on full swing for what is said to be the world`s biggest animal sacrifice in Gadhimai Temple of Bara district, 200 km south of Kathmandu.
More than 5,00,000 people, mostly from India, have already made their way to the venue to witness the sacrifice of 500,000 animals on November 24, 25 and 26, according to media reports.
The festival which is held once in five years registered a presence of five million people the last time it was held. More than 75 percent visitors are from various parts of India such as Kashi, Patna, Bihar, Sitamadhi, Jharkhand and Samastipur.
Some 1,200 people, including members of Bramhin and Rana community, have sought permission to slaughter animals with the Buffalo Sacrifice Management Committee, says its chief Moti Lal Shah. Around 10,000 buffaloes are already registered to be sacrificed.
Buddhist boy-monk Ram Bahadur Bamjan has been fasting for months against the sacrifice and Bramha Kumari Raj Yog, a religious group, has launched a public campaign against the temple festival. People sacrifice animals as an offering they promise to their deities for successful completion of a task.
Various animals like goats, buffaloes, ducks, chickens and pigs will be sacrificed at the venue, which spreads across a 5 km radius of the three century old temple in Bariyarpur village of the district.
The applicants need to fill up forms, along with a copy of their citizenship certificate and deposit Rs 200 each to take part in the sacrifice.
They are also required to pay a fee ranging between Rs 20 to Rs 100 for slaughtering animals on their own. The government has deployed thousands of personnel from the Nepal Police and Armed Police Force for security purposes to prevent any untoward incident during the five-yearly festival.
More than 1,000 policemen would be on alert round the clock in the area during the festival.
Despite the hue and cry raised by various rights groups against the animal sacrifice, the government has remained silent in the matter. The government officials have refused to interfere in the centuries old religious traditions.