Despite an extensive campaign launched by the People For Animals group, more than 800 goats were sacrificed at the Baira Kalimata Mandir in Kaliyaganj and the Ekarchala Kalimate Mandir in Goalpokhar in North Dinajpur district yesterday night. Around 500 he-goats were sacrificed by devotees in the Baira Kalimata Mandir, while more than 300 such goats were sacrificed in the Ekarchhala Kalimata Mandir, sources said today.
On the other hand, in sharp contrast, the Debinagar Kalibari Puja committee has banned all animal sacrifices on their puja premises from this year onwards. The Chairman of the Raiganj Municipality, Sandip Biswas, felicitated members of this Kali Puja committee for making such a decision to save animal life. Meanwhile, members of the North Dinajpur unit of People For Animals had demanded that the animal sacrifice be at least cut down in the district. It is learnt that some puja committees took note of this appeal and reduced the number of such animal sacrifices.
“Goddess Kali is being worshiped for more than 150 years here. Our concrete temple was set up in 1966, and since then, this temple has become very popular. Driven by old beliefs, people sacrifice goats and pigeons in our temple during Kali Puja. They believe that they get what they want from the Goddess if they make such sacrifices,” the Secretary of the Baira Kalimata Mandir Committee in Kaliyaganj, Bidyut Bikash Bhadra, said. “During Kali Puja, devotees from different parts of our district, and places like Balurghat, Malda, Kolkata, Siliguri and Berhampur turn up in Kaliyaganj to witness our puja.
A section of them sacrifice hegoats and pigeons,” he added. According to the Secretary of the North Dinajpur unit of People For Animals, Gautam Tantia, they have been campaigning in social media and through leaflets distributed among the people against such mass animal sacrifice. “We have been doing this for the past two years. The number of animal sacrifices has already gone down in the district following the campaigns. The Debinagar Kali Puja committee in Raiganj, where around 50 goats are sacrificed every year, has stopped such animal sacrifice during the puja. We thank the organisers for this support. We believe that the trend slows down next year,” he said.