12/03/2019, 09.27
NEPAL
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Feast of Gadhimai: the great Hindu sacrifice of animals has begun, despite the announcement

Thousands of people are going to the village of Bariyarpur where the temple dedicated to the goddess of power is located. In 2015, the temple committee banned bloodshed, but the law was rejected.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Despite the ban imposed in 2015, this morning the largest animal sacrifice in the world for the Hindu festival of Gadhimai, the goddess of power, began in Nepal. Thousands of people are reaching the village of Bariyarpur, where the rituals take place, bringing to the divinity every kind of animal: goats, buffaloes, sheep, pigeons and even mice.

The festival takes place every five years in the temple dedicated to the goddess, about 150 kilometers from the capital Kathmandu. The ritual ceremony involves offerings to the divinity through prayer and the beheading of animals. The sacrifices take place with the use of blunt swords, while rivers of alcohol flow among the faithful.

The event gathers millions of pilgrims coming mainly from India and Nepal. It is not the only Hindu festival in which animals are massacred and the country has been repeatedly the object of internal and international criticism for these practices considered real blood baths.

In 2009, more than 500,000 head of cattle were killed outside the temple. In 2014, instead, the number decreased to 200,000, thanks also to a decision by the Supreme Court of India that had forbidden the cross-border passage of animals. However the law remains mostly inapplicable and still 70% of the animals come from the neighboring country.

In 2015, Gadhimai's temple committee banned the carnage, prompted by a ruling by the Nepalese Supreme Court asking the government to discourage the bloodbath. Despite being banned and opposed by animal rights activists around the world, the festival remains one of the most awaited by the faithful, who hope to receive abundant blessings from the goddess.

Like Sabu Sahani, 25, who came to the temple with his family from Bihar, India, bringing a goat as an offering. "I'm happy to be here - she tells AFP - the goddess listened to me. We had no children, but my wife gave birth to a child. "

The slaughter of thousands of animals is expected at this year's festival. On the one hand, activists complain that the authorities were unable to enforce the law. On the other Mangal Chaudhary, of the 10th generation of the family that serves the temple, says: "We will follow the tradition and perform the rituals in the temple. What happens outside regards the will of the devotees ".

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