Bolangir: With the refusal of Supreme Court to interfere with religious practices carrying centuries-old traditions of sacrificing animals by different communities, tribal people in Western Odisha today announced to observe the annual “Sulia Yatra” at Khairaguda in Bolangir district.
Following a meeting, the tribal group today announced to observe the festival according to ritual on the first Tuesday of the bright fortnight (Sukla Paksa) in the Hindu calendar month of Pousha, while social activists expressed displeasure over the announcement.
“We will perform the rituals as per the tradition, and welcome the judgement of Supreme Court last year,” said a member of Sulia Yatra Samiti.
Sulia Yatra is observed by the tribal people of Bolangir and adjoining districts on the first Tuesday of the bright fortnight (Sukla Paksa) in the Hindu calendar month of Pousha.
A large number of animals including buffaloes, goats, sheep and chickens, pigeons, ducks and swans are slaughtered at Khairaguda of Deogaon in Bolangir district while administration poses a mute spectator.
Thousands of animals and birds are sacrificed by tribals every year for the sake of upholding their ‘religious’ values. The festival has been named after Lord Shiva, who carries a three-faced javelin locally called ‘Trisula’. The God, who carries a sula, is called Sulia Baba. Perhaps this is the only instance where animal sacrifice is made for Lord Shiva. On this occasion, the adored deity of the tribal is also worshipped along with Lord Shiva.
“We will create awareness among the tribals not to perform animal sacrifice in the name of tradition. We have been opposing the tradition,” said a social activist.`
Notably, a bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy on September last year refused fused to interfere with religious practices and said the judiciary could not stop centuries-old traditions of sacrificing animals by different communities.