Showdown on cards over Sulia Yatra in Odisha’s Bolangir

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Balangir, Dec 29:

With the Zilla Adivasi Sangh and the Sulia Puja Committee in Bolangir district of Odisha hell bent on carrying out animal sacrifice despite prohibitory orders clamped at Khairguda, the site of the gory, annual ritual, a confrontation looks ineveitable on Monday.

Photo Ccourtesy:
Photo Ccourtesy:

The district administration has imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPc at six places including Khairaguda, 35 kms from the district headquarters town of Balangi,r to prevent large scale sacrifice of animals during the Sulia festival tomorrow as per High Court orders. But it has clearly not deterred the organisers, who have openly and defiantly announced their intention to go ahead with their age old ritual.

“It’s our tradition. We adivasis have been following it since ages, it’s our culture. How can we give up our tradition? Why should we abandon our age old practices for some people with vested interest? Police should stay away from our practices and maintain peace,” warned Brajakishore Singhbhoi, an office bearer of the Zilla Adivasi Sangh.

Similar sentiments were also expressed by a member of the Sulia Puja Committee.

“We cannot forego our cultural traditions and practices for some people. We cannot displease our goddess. We will continue with our sacrifices tomorrow. The police can only maintain peace,” said Tapan Kuanr, a member of the Sulia Puja Committee.

“We have imposed section 144 at six places including Khairguda, Bada Khala, Sana Khala of Kumudia, Exzimal of Hiramal, Mednapalli and lower Suktel. While four of these places come under the Sadar police limits, two come under Tusra police limits. Adequate police arrangements have been made to prevent sacrifice of animals,” said Brajabandhu Bhol, Sub-Collector, Balangir.

“We are trying our best to prevent such practice and implement the High Court orders. We have deployed armed police in different locations where such practices take place. Magistrates and DSP level police officers have been deployed. We have also tried to raise awareness levels among the tribals in our district. The problem is people from other districts also come here to offer sacrifices,” said Deepak Chouhan, S P Balangir.

People sacrifice thousands of animals every year in the district as part of their age-old Sulia yatra or the annual killing festival. They believe that all their suffering is because of divine wrath and the sacrifice of animals will ensure that deities protect them from misery and misfortune.

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