Signalling the end of an age old tradition, the defence ministry has asked the army to ensure that none of its units indulge in the ritual slaughtering of buffaloes, reminding the force that sacrificing bovines is against the law. Highly-placed sources in the ministry told ET that instructions have been issued to put an end to the practice of certain army units to behead a male buffalo (Rango) during Dussehra that is attributed mostly to Gorkha tradition.
"No doubt it is an old tradition but the tradition is now against Indian law. There are laws that govern slaughter and sacrificing an animal in such a manner is against the rules," a top defence ministry functionary told ET. Sources said instructions were sent earlier this month to ensure that buffalo sacrifice did not take place at Gorkha units across the country on Dussehra. The view of the government is that the ritual sacrifice amounts to cruelty and the slaughtering of an animal has to be done according to the law.
"It is understood that there may be some who wish to carry out this tradition but rules should not be bent. If there is such a need, rules can be followed and the animal can be taken to government authorized slaughter houses as per the law," a ministry source said, adding that there has been no opposition to the move.
While the decision has been welcomed by some veterans who believe that it is time for such traditions to fade away, others have opposed the move. "Over a period of time, the practice of buffalo sacrifice has reduced in Gorkha battalions. The men would be equally up to accepting the fact that we have to change with time. I do not see any opposition to such a move," Brigadier Rattan Kaul (retd), who commanded the 4/5 Gorkha battalion, said.
(Originally published in The Times of India)