Tribals sacrificed only two animals this Vishu festival

Ranchi, May 5 : With awareness campaigns bearing fruit, the number of animals sacrificed during the tribal festival of Vishu was a mere two this year compared to over 15 last year, a forest official said.

The sharp reduction in sacrifices during the festival, that was celebrated Monday, was the result of an awareness campaigns organised by the forest department for the last four years, the official said.

An archery competition and feast was organised to prevent killing of animals during the festival which is celebrated to protect the tribals from wild animals.

“This year, one deer and one crow were killed during the festival. Last year, more than 15 animals were killed,” the forest official said.

The tribal people celebrate Vishu festival every year by venturing into the Dalma forest areas and killing wild animals. Traditionally, tribals celebrated Vishu by chasing and killing animals in the wild, preparing food from their flesh and drinking Handia (home-made rice liquor).

The forest department, which was facing a tough time preventing the tribals from hunting wild animals, organised an archery competition at Dalma hills in Ranchi and the Jamshedpur national highway. Also, a feast was organised for the tribal people.

“We appreciate the forest department’s move to organise archery competition and feast during our hunting festival. The forest department also ensured killing of animals in a symbolic way,” said Putkar Hembrom, who participated in the archery competition.

Divisional Forest Officer of Dalma range Siddharath Tripathy said: “The awareness programme has worked. This year, around 200 tribals participated in the festival.”