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The killing fields of Dashain

world Updated: Oct 11, 2010 01:02 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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Bal Krishna Mainali, a resident of Balkhu in Kathmandu is a happy man these days. Anyone would be if you happen to hit the jackpot in a contest. But unlike other winners Mainali has won an unusual prize—a castrated goat called khasi in Nepali.

It's the first prize given to winners in a daily contest asking people to answer questions that appear in newspapers using their mobile phones. The contest offers other prizes like microwave and iron as well, but the khasi is coveted prize.

Its Dashain time in Nepal and goats, buffaloes meant for sacrifice are sought after. The fortnight-long festival celebrated by Hindus to worship ‘tantrik' goddesses and the nine avatars of Durga began on Friday.

Millions of goats, buffaloes, pigs, ducks and chickens will be sacrificed in temples and homes for nine days with Maha Ashtami and Maha Navami—the two most auspicious days witnessing the largest amount of bloodshed.

Besides animals from within Nepal, thousands of goats and buffaloes are being brought from Tibet and India. According to reports, 20 truckloads of buffaloes are entering Nepal from Bihar daily.

Nepal has a population of 28.5 million of which 80 pc are Hindus. If each family offers even one animal for sacrifice during this time the figure would give animal lovers nightmares for weeks.

"A goat can cost NRs 3,000 to 8,000 and a buffalo anywhere between NRs 15,000 to 25,000. But despite the steep prices, many poor families borrow money to buy them," says Santosh Khatiwada of Animal Welfare Network Nepal.