Modernity suffered a setback in the tussle with tradition in Odisha’s Balangir district on Tuesday. Defying a government ban on animal sacrifice and reformist efforts to curb the practice, Kondh tribals slaughtered thousands of animals and birds during their annual festival — Sulia Yatra.
Around 20 buffaloes, 800 sheep and goats and over 3000 roosters were offered to tribal god Sulia at Khairguda village.
The sacrificial altar at Khairguda had not witnessed animal sacrifice for seven years following restrictions by the administration and an awareness campaign by a reformist group. But apparently, the tribals who carried on the practice secretly, had merely decided to come out in the open this time.
“For the past several years, we used to sacrifice the animals in another village, away from the administration’s glare,” said a tribal youth.
Since Monday evening the administration had barred tribal heads from visiting the spot, but that did not deter them from carrying out slaughter in presence of government officials.