Women from Agartala celebrating Dussehra in Durga Bari temple on Tuesday

Agartala: Probably for the first time in the last 500 years, no animals were sacrificed during Durga Puja at the historic Durga Bari Temple of Agartala in Tripura following the recent ban by the Tripura High Court.

Speaking with EastMojo, Tapan Chakraborty, a priest in Durga Bari, said that Durga Puja is being celebrated at the temple for more than 500 years now. “Sacrificing of animals has been practised here ever since. However, after the high court ordered a ban on the practice in temples, we are following the order,” he said.

Durga Puja was introduced at the temple in Tripura by the erstwhile ‘Maharaja’ Krishna Kishore Manikya Bahadur in the early 19th century and it has remained as one of the largest attractions for visitors during this time of the year.

Earlier, speaking with EastMojo, royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya DebBarman said that he was happy that it happened but he felt it should have been done through a consultative process with stakeholders agreeing to it.

The recent HC judgment on the ban over animal sacrifice in temples of Tripura is an overreach of jurisdiction, DebBarman had said. “I am personally an animal lover. I don’t believe in the large-scale sacrifice of animals and opulence because it is inhuman and animals should be slaughtered in a human way,” he added.

We can limit the level of animal sacrifice, but the high court to come out and to tell us to stop animal sacrifice is an overreach of its jurisdiction. “If the court had asked the society, priest, and stakeholders to come out with a solution so that the number can be reduced and practiced in a human way and I would have completely agreed to it,” DebBarman had said.

Meanwhile, at the Durga Bari temple, Mukta Dey, who had come all the way from Shillong in Meghalaya, said she loves to visit the state and the temple, its ambiance and the tradition, culture of the people.

Another visitor, Dr Debalina Chandra, said that she was happy with the verdict of the high court of Tripura and nobody has the right to kill animals in the name of worship in temples.

Earlier, the high court on September 27 pronounced the ban over the animal sacrifice across the temples in the state.

The divisional bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice Sanjoy Karol and Justice Arindam Lodh was hearing the PIL filed by a retired judge of Tripura District and Sessions Court Subhash Bhattacharjee.

The court, in its order, said, “No person shall sacrifice such animals within the precincts of any of the temples within the state of Tripura.”

The government of Tripura has proposed the development of Devi Tripureswari temple as a favourite international tourist destination. People of all beliefs and faiths are likely to visit in large numbers.

“Anyone of the devotees desirous of offering any animal out of personal faith, belief or desire, may do so, but, shall take back the animal and under no circumstance, any activity of animal sacrifice shall be permitted to be carried out,” the order read.

Advocate general Arun Kanti Bhowmik said the state government will think over the issue relating to making an appeal in the Supreme Court after going through the order of the high court.

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