Karnataka: non-Hindus not allowed to kill cows, Hindus can slaughter animals in ritual sacrifice
by Nirmala Carvalho
A bill would ban the killing of cows, a holy animal for Hindus. Hindu extremist groups are in favour of the move, but not the members of other religions. At a ceremony in honour of a Hindu deity, buffaloes, sheep and chicken are killed in a ritual sacrifice.
Mangalore (AsiaNews) – Modern India’s reality was most visible recently in the southern State of Karnataka as two events highlight the country’s contradictions. In one case, thousands of animals were killed as part of a traditional Hindu religious ceremony; in the other, protesters took to the streets to urge the State government to stop a bill that would ban the killing of cows. On Wednesday, about 100,000 people gathered in Davangere District to share in a bloody ritual involving tens of thousands of animals. The next day in Mangalore, thousands of demonstrators rallied against a bill that would outlaw killing cows.

The anti-bill rally was organised by the ‘Movement for the Protection of Indian Food Culture’. Demonstrators walked by government buildings, calling on the authorities to safeguard the interests of all citizens, including non-vegetarians, and drop its proposed piece of legislation.

According to a local political leader, A K Subbayya, the bill is designed to indulge the Sangh Parivar, a Hindu social movement that promotes the purity of Hinduism and a return to religious absolutism.

Sangh Parivar militants believe cows to be divine. “This is why the bill does not take into account the views of non-vegetarians and non-Hindus. Sangh has vested interests, including economic ones, in imposing vegetarianism. If it gets away with it, in a few years they will get some other animal protected as holy.”

“It is wrong to think that only Muslims and Christians oppose the anti-cow slaughter bill,” Subbayya noted. “The BJP government should know that there are a lot of members from the lower castes, including Dalits, who have been eating cow meat for centuries. [. . .] What is wrong with that? What will cow owners do with their animals” if the bill is approved?

In the meantime, the early dawn on Wednesday saw a vast sea of Hindus gather in Davangere to watch the arrival of the severed head of a buffalo that had been killed inside the Sridurgambika Temple. In order to appease the goddess, one of the Hindu deities, five water buffaloes, 50,000 sheep and thousands of chicken were slaughtered.

Since a ban on slaughtering is in place at present, Hindu worshippers cut the buffalo at an undisclosed place and brought it to the temple. During the transfer, a former minister applied blood to his forehead.