Despite the widespread protest against the mass slaughtering of hundreds of thousands of animals for religious purposes during the ongoing Gadhimai festival both inside the country and outside, the Nepal government has put a stamp of approval on it with its senior ministers and top government officials visiting the ‘pilgrimage site’ to offer their prayers to the Hindu goddess of power Gadhimai.
Deputy-prime minister Bijay Kumar Gacchedhar, tourism minister Sharad Singh Bhandari and state-minister Kalawati Dusadh along with 20 senior government officials reached the festival venue in the tiny village of Bariyapur, in Bara district on Thursday to observe what the festival organizers believe is the world’s biggest ritual slaughter.
Over 20,000 buffaloes and countless number of goats, chickens, ducks and other animals were slaughtered only on the first day of mass slaughtering at the festival on Tuesday.
Unknowingly, the activists of the UCPN (Maoist) took up the case of the Animal rights activists, who had vainly appealed to the government to do something to stop the barbaric killings at the festival, when they showed black flags to the visiting dignitaries at the festival venue in continuation of their public protest against them.
The Maoist activists and supporters chanted slogans against the current government while continuing to waive black flags and tried to obstruct the movement of the ministerial convoy at the venue of the Gadhimai festival. Soon, the Maoist activists clashed with the police when the latter tried to intervene in their protest, which resulted in a stampede that left more than 20 people injured.
Up to a million Hindu devotees from Nepal and India have gathered in Bariyapur since early last week to offer animals to the deity for fulfillment of their wishes as well as witness their slaughter during the month-long festival that takes place in every five years. nepalnews.com