Photo Essay in Sunday Leader: Controversial Animal Sacrifice in Chilaw

This photo essay by photographer Natalie Soysa covers the protested animal sacrifice in Chilaw yesterday. The following text and photos are by Ms. Soysa.

Slaughter of 300 goats and countless chickens at the Arulmigu Sri Mahabathrakaliyam Kovil on 25th August 2010.

It should be noted that this can’t merely be considered an act of Hindu devotion. For one, there are many sects of Hinduism and this is one sect of Kali worshippers and for another there were a considerable number of Sinhalese Buddhists who were partaking in the slaughter ritual inside the kovil as well. This is more a social or cultural practice than a religious one.

Goat for sacrifice

A Prayer for Salvation – one of the 300 goats brought to slaughter inside the Arulmigu Sri Mahabathrakaliyam Kovil in Munneswaram, Chilaw on 25th August 2010
The Arulmigu Sri Mahabathrakaliyam Kovil, not to be mistaken for its neighbour, the Shivan Kovil where thousands flock on pilgrimage. The Shivan Kovil and the ACHC have condemned the act of annual sacrifice

The Arulmigu Sri Mahabathrakaliyam Kovil, not to be mistaken for its neighbour, the Shivan Kovil where thousands flock on pilgrimage. The Shivan Kovil and the ACHC have condemned the act of annual sacrifice
The Peaceful Protest – A group of monks, animal rights activists and concerned citizens demonstrated a peaceful protest on the next lane to the kovil as they were not allowed any closer, being threatened by riot police who turned a blind eye to the violence going on inside

The Peaceful Protest – A group of monks, animal rights activists and concerned citizens demonstrated a peaceful protest on the next lane to the kovil as they were not allowed any closer, being threatened by riot police who turned a blind eye to the violence going on inside
People flock to the temple nearby after the protest in desperation wanting to know how this act of mass slaughter could be stopped

People flock to the temple nearby after the protest in desperation wanting to know how this act of mass slaughter could be stopped
Dragged to slaughter –two boys beating and dragging a reluctant goat into the kovil premises

Dragged to slaughter –two boys beating and dragging a reluctant goat into the kovil premises
Through the barricades – A young boy takes a chicken into the kovil passed the police barricades. Most parents opted to let their children take the animals into the kovil in the hope that the goddess would look kindly upon them

Through the barricades – A young boy takes a chicken into the kovil passed the police barricades. Most parents opted to let their children take the animals into the kovil in the hope that the goddess would look kindly upon them
Carried into slaughter – This man walks in passed unconcerned police officers

Carried into slaughter – This man walks in passed unconcerned police officers
Ready to be reaped – An eyewitness said the chickens were swung around by both head and feat around 15 times each before being dashed on the ground

Ready to be reaped – An eyewitness said the chickens were swung around by both head and feat around 15 times each before being dashed on the ground
The Human Condition – Two young men take a goat into slaughter with unabashed smiles on their faces

The Human Condition – Two young men take a goat into slaughter with unabashed smiles on their faces
What are we teaching our children? – This lady gets her son to carry a heavy bag of sacrificial food with her into the kovil

What are we teaching our children? – This lady gets her son to carry a heavy bag of sacrificial food with her into the kovil

Official link – http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2010/08/26/controversial-animal-sacrifice-in-chilaw-photos/

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