Patna: A politician in India’s Jharkhand state slaughtered dozens of goats in a ceremony to thank the deities, after his long-cherished dream of becoming a minister finally came true, sparking protests from animal rights activists and villagers.
Minister Suresh Paswasn, who landed the key tourism portfolio, hails from Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal.
Media reports said the minister, accompanied by hundreds of his supporters, arrived at the temple in Bihar’s far-east Jamui district on Sunday and sacrificed 29 goats at the altar of deities as the priests chanted hymns.
His supporters, who included a senior police officer, also sacrificed 26 goats to respect the wish of their leader. Subsequently, the minister threw a grand feast for his supporters to celebrate the occasion.
“I have a deep faith in the deities since long but my faith in them got cemented when my wish was fulfilled finally,” the minister told the media. The temple is located in the lap of hills surrounded by lush green forests.
Animal rights activists have reacted sharply to the minister’s gesture, saying it was sad to know that the leader slaughtered so many goats to please the deities just barely after his wish got fulfilled.
It was shocking, they added, that the minister has no knowledge of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 which bans the open slaughter of animals at a religious function.
“All religions encourage compassion and there are other ways to demonstrate sacrifice without selfishly taking someone’s life such as by distributing vegan food and clothes to the poor. When tourists around the world hear about minister’s cruelty towards animals, they will cancel their plans to visit Jharkhand,” Bhuvaneshwari Gupta, a senior animal rights activist from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said in an email message to Gulf News from Mumbai on Monday.
Villagers too have bitterly criticised the move saying the clock was ticking for these ministers and the parties who gave tickets to such persons.
“People need to start selecting the right party and progressive persons to lead the state,” commented a local resident.
The minister’s ceremony, though, might not seem so bizarre given the fact that his leader and RJD chief, Prasad, is himself known for making tours of religious towns at regular intervals and getting involved in various kinds tantric (mystical) prayers to ensure he gets relief from legal troubles.
Prasad is an accused in the multimillion dollar fodder scam and has even been convicted in one of five cases.
In July last year, Prasad had visited the ashram of Pagla (mad) Baba alias Bibhuti Narayan, a tantric guru, at Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh and sought his blessings.
“Baba knows of the attacks on me. He has assured me nothing untoward will happen to me,” Prasad had then told journalists.
A few weeks later, however, he was convicted in a fodder scam case and sentenced to five year jail.
Before that, Prasad accompanied with his family members had proceeded on a long “thanksgiving tour” of the deities in the south after he was made the federal railway minister in the UPA-I government at the centre after 2004 Lok Sabha polls even as his wife Rabri Devi stood as the chief minister of Bihar then. Prasad and his wife are also the usual visitors to the local temples.