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Bhajans before death for Shambo

The bull is taken away for slaughter after a stand-off between the authorities and the Hindu community, reports Vijay Dutt.

world Updated: Jul 27, 2007 03:35 IST
Vijay Dutt

Shambo the sacred bull at the Skand Vale multi-faith temple in west Wales was taken away for slaughter on Thursday evening. But not before a 12-hour stand-off between the authorities and the Hindu community.

Shambo had tested positive for bovine tuberculosis in April, and UK law requires all such infected animals to be put to death. Hindus challenged it in court, and lost.

An early morning notice from the Welsh assembly informed the temple that animal inspectors would be arriving at 8 am to remove Shambo.

But when the inspectors accompanied by police arrived, they found a picket blocking their way. Temple doors were locked, and over 200 devotees and priests surrounded the shed where Shambo had been kept, singing bhajans. “We put kumkum on Shambo’s forehead every hour,” a priest told HT.

“There was no danger of Shambo spreading the disease because he had been isolated,” said Diana Hugh, a local health worker who had joined the protesters.

The inspectors were not allowed to enter until they went back and returned with a court order authorising them to do so. Shambo was finally taken away in a closed trailer.