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Animal sacrifice sparks criticism in Nepal

May 14, 2008 | 11:00 am

The king of Nepal drew the ire of an animal rights group this week after sacrificing five animals, including a buffalo, at a shrine outside Kathmandu.

Reuters, reporting on the sacrifice as well as the King Gyanendra's uncertain future, said the king went to the shrine Monday to offer annual prayers to Kali, the Hindu goddess of power. The king faces the abolition of the 239-year-old monarchy because Maoists emerged as the biggest party in assembly elections in April. Reuters reported the contrasting views of the animal sacrifice:

     Earlier at the shrine, the king sat crossed-legged in front of the deity and offered prayers as five animals -- a buffalo, a goat, a lamb, a duck and a rooster -- were sacrificed to goddess Kali, a common practice among Hindus, to please the deity.

     "This is a ritual for peace and prosperity for the self and the family," priest Sekhar Prasad Pandit said after performing the 45-minute ritual. "This is done in the hope to get one’s desires fulfilled."

     As the king arrived driving a black limousine, dozens of people including some royalists cheered and offered him flowers.

     Some animal rights activists were angry. "We must immediately stop sacrificing animals in temples," an animal rights group, Prannath Kalyan Samaj, said in a pamphlet distributed near the temple.

-- Steve Padilla

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