Sri Lanka court stays Hindu temple ritual

Colombo: A leading Hindu temple in Sri
Lanka had to halt its annual ritual of sacrificing hundreds of
animals after a court barred it, organisers said on Tuesday.

Slaughtering of goats and scores of fowl is an annual
ritual at the Munneswaram Kali Amman Hindu Temple in Chilaw
came to be halted due to a court order obtained by the police.

Some 300 goats had been lined up to be slaughtered
in public. The devotees of the temple which include people of
the majority Sinhala and Tamil minority community perform the
ritual to evade evil spirits.

Meanwhile, the minister of public relations Mervyn
Silva arrived on the scene and ordered all animals lined up
for the sacrifice be freed, eye witnesses said.

"This is a myth and a despicable act. No god accepts
offerings of slaughter. Me and my supporters pointed out the
fact that non violence is a common belief in both Buddhism and
Hinduism", Silva said.

Silva said he had transported all animals to a
nearby farm and the owners were free to take the animals back.

Animal rights groups and Buddhist monks decry the
ritual claiming it was an act of cruelty against animals.

The last year`s ritual was also disrupted when a group of
Buddhist monks sat on the road protesting against the ritual.

The ritual was first banned in the 1980s but was revived
as locals believe the animals` blood wards off evil spirits.

The police riot squad was later deployed to restore
order in Chilaw, a predominant Catholic town in the majority
Buddhist island.


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