The Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay high court tha it will allow animal sacrifice on Dussehra at the famous Saptashrungi temple at Nanduri village in Nashik district.
A division bench of Justices SV Gangapurwala and RM Laddha was hearing a petition by Adivasi Vikas Sanstha challenging the September 27, 2017 order of a sub-divisional officer imposing a ban on animal sacrifice in the premises of the temple. It was stopped in 2017 after a firing took place during the sacrifice and 12 persons were injured
The plea sought that the government be directed to withdraw this order. It contended that since times immemorial the tribal and other communities have been sacrificing goats and this ritual is an integral part of their religion. The villagers also fear that if the ritual is not carried out there would be a bad omen.
Datta Pawar, Sanstha’s advocate, proposed that only six persons may be allowed inside the temple premises and only one goat will be sacrificed, as a token. These six persons may also include two from Saptashrungi Trust to remain present during the sacrifice.
He said that firing in the air after the sacrifice is also a custom.
However, the court on September 26, disallowed such a practice (of firing in the air), saying that “the question of any firing on the said occasion does not arise.’’
The court had asked the government to take instructions on whether the administration would consider Sanstha’s proposal.
On September 29 the judges submitted a standard operating procedure for conducting the sacrifice, which was accepted by the petitioner Sanstha.
The HC has disposed of the petition.