PATHLAIYA: Buddhist monk Ram Bahadur Bamjan, like thousands of animal rights activists at home and abroad, has thrown his lot behind a campaign to halt mass sacrifice of livestock at the Gadhimai Mela in Bara on November 24 and 25.

The mela, which is held once is every five years, is arguably the world's largest mass slaughter of assorted animals and birds to propitiate Goddess Gadhimai.

Despite the intense protest in the run up to the event, the Gadhimai Mela Management Committee appointed 250 butchers three days ago to perform the sacrifice.

Bamjan, who is expected to reach the mela venue tomorrow, will deliver a sermon against animal sacrifice. Raju Shah, member, Namobuddha Conservation Committee, said that though they were aware of his visit tomorrow, the exact time of his arrival was yet to be communicated to them.

Bamjan is slated to come to the shrine alone, which, incidentally, will be his maiden visit. Earlier, he had urged members of the mela committee to put an end to the mass sacrifice, and also invited them to his meditation venue at Ratanpur for talks. Throwing caution to the wind, the panel has, however, stuck to its stand, stating any deviation would be a departure from the age-old tradition.

Tapoban Conservation Committee members pleaded ignorance about his programme tomorrow. Shah, too, was in the dark.

Motilal Kushwaha, secretary, Gadhimai Mela Management Committee, said that preparations were in place to welcome the monk tomorrow.

“We've absolutely no problem if he chooses to engage in spiritual discourse. But, we won't stop sacrifice at any cost,” he added.