Buddha Boy to fight for animal rights

KATHMANDU: Ahead of the world’s largest animal sacrifice, the Buddha Boy, who came to limelight for Buddha-like meditation in the jungle for months allegedly without water and food, has vowed to stop mass killings of animals and birds at the Gadhimai Mela in Bariyapur VDC-1 in November. But the Gadhimai Management Committee is bent on slaughtering the animals as per the historic tradition to appease the deity. The sacrifice is scheduled for November 24 and 25 in Bara district.

The organisers plan to slaughter at least 200,000 animals — including 60,000 buffaloes and 140,000 rats, goats, ducks, roosters and pigeons in the two-day-long Mela.

The atypical Mela has drawn the ire of animal rights activists and those spearheading a movement for non-violence. As plans go, the organisers plan to kill such a huge number of animals, in the two days, saying that such sacrifices will appease their local deity.

The locals go by legend to believe that animal sacrifice helps them get rid of desires, anger and stupidity. They believe that they are invoking goddess Gadhimai to liberate them from sins. But, Geshe Ngima Tamang, coordinator of the Namo Buddha Tapoban Conservation and Promotion Committee does not believe in the sacrifice as liberating one from the sins. “Instead, the murder, violence and animal sacrifice will only jeopardise peace process in the country,” he argues.

“The belief that the divine blessings can be achieved through animal sacrifice is a mirage. It goes against the very fact that all living beings are a creation of the god,” he argues, appealing all to refrain from killings or harming the animals.

Tamang said the Buddha Boy, whose official name is Palden

Dorje Tamang Rinpochhe,

would take on Gadhimai Temple beginning November 30 in his bid to stop the killings.

In a recent interview with mediapersons, Bomjan had said that the goddess represented mother of all living beings, including those animals and would never be pleased with the sacrifice of her own children. “Human beings have turned brutal by offering animal sacrifice to the goddesses. This practice must be stopped now,” he said.

Geshe Ngima, meanwhile, urged the devotees to offer posy, fruits and vegetables, incense sticks, tika, sweets and coconuts instead of animals and their blood to appease the goddess and help restore peace in the country. “The sacrifice will start with the offering of five different animals: pig, buffalo, goat, rodent, rooster and pigeon followed by rituals as vedic tradition,” informed a committee member in Bara.

According to Shyam Tamang, general secretary of Nepal Tamang National Federation, the government has released a subsidy budget of Rs 4.2 million.

“It’s high time to stop such an excess of cruelty against our friends,” said Anil Bajracharya, animal rights campaigner and manager of the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre. Psychiatrists have long warned of metal trauma being inflicted on the local slaughterers and the spectators by brutal and haphazard animal slaughter on a mass scale.