Most of the temples in Assam including the ancient Kamakhya temple here and the Burhi Gosani Durga temple in Rani, not only witnessed the sacrifice of birds and animals but of vegetables too in the last three days of the ongoing Durga Puja which will culminate on Tuesday.
While the ritual of sacrifice started on Saturday, it will continue till Monday. Tuesday marks the end of the Durga puja when the idols are immersed.
Pradip Mishra, a management committee member of the Burhi Gosani Durga temple, said: "There were 15 buffaloes, about 20 goats and an uncountable number of pigeons and ducks which were brought by the devotees for sacrifice on Sunday."
Mishra added that vegetables like bottle gourd were sacrificed in the temple.
"According to Hinduism, the worship of Devi Durga is associated with the sacrifice of animals. Goddess Durga is associated with 'shakti' (power), which requires the offering of animal blood. The animal sacrifice is a tradition with Hinduism and it is done in our temple as part of the Vedic ritual," he added.
Chief of the Kamakhya Temple's management authority, Bar Doloi Mohit Sharma, said: "Sacrifice of the animals are part of the 'Nitya puja' (daily worship). When the devotees come forward to offer the animal for sacrifice we cannot stop them. It's a right to practice religious traditions."
But PETA India CEO Manilal Villayete condemned the animal sacrifices in Assam and said that different high courts of the country have stated that animals must be considered as legal persons.
"There was a time when animals were sacrificed in India but at a time when India is eyeing lunar mission there is no point that an archaic act of the past is justified," he added.
( With inputs from IANS )