The Sunday Leader

Animal Sacrifices May Commence Again

By Dinidu de Alwis

A decision to resume the animal sacrifice rituals at the controversial Munnesvaram Temple has not been made yet and the temple’s trustee board will be making the decision soon, sources from the Kovil said.
Kali Mutta Shivapada Sundaram, a priest who is involved in the sacrifices at the Kovil, said that the decision to temporarily stop the sacrifices was made following a public request by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Animals for sacrifices are however being accepted from devotees, even though slaughter is not taking place.
President Rajapaksa last week made a public appeal for the sacrifices to be suspended during the period in which Kapilvastu Relics – believed to be relics of Lord Buddha – are on display in Sri Lanka.
The cattle and goat sacrifices at the Kovil drew heavy criticism last year, both from animal rights bodies and Buddhist religious groups, but the temple maintains that animal sacrifices have been a tradition since the time of King Ravana, and has been practiced at the Munnesvaram temple for centuries.
“The sacrifices are done for the good of the people and the country, not just to feed ourselves,”  Sundaram said.
Minister of Public Relations Mervyn Silva, who last year too publicly opposed the move, pledged to ensure that the sacrifices would not take place this year.

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