Police personnel have been deployed at the annual fair of goddess Marikamba at Komaranahalli in Shivamogga in Karnataka after complaints of forced animal sacrifice, allegedly by upper caste persons.
The Karnataka State Commission for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes received a complaint that Dalits in Komaranahalli village were allegedly forced by upper castes to sacrifice a buffalo during the fair and consume its meat.
The same complaint also alleged that Dalit women were asked to perform semi-nude worship by wearing just a garland of neem leaves, reported The Hindu.
The annual fair began on Tuesday at the Marikamba temple, which is close to Sagar town. It features the image of the goddess Marikamba, a form of Durga or Parvati.
Superintendent of Police Abhinav Khare and Deputy Commissioner M Lokesh have been directed by A Muniyappa, the Chairman of the Commission to take necessary steps against the backdrop of the incident.
He also met villagers and requested them to give up such practices. Police seized buffaloes near the Marikamba temple in Komaranhalli that were kept aside to be sacrificed during the fair.
Protests were also staged by a section of the villages asking police to hand over the buffalos to them. The District Armed Reserve Police have been deployed in the village so that no further incidents take place.
The incident comes weeks after over 250 animals, mainly goats and sheep, were sacrificed on the first day of the Yellamma Fair at Kokatanur village in Belagavi district.
The animals were sacrificed in spite of efforts by the police department and animal rights activists to prevent animal sacrifice at the fair.
Local police along with activists of the Bengaluru-based Vishwaprani Dayasangha kept an eye out for instances of animal sacrifices. However, their efforts were in vain as devotees thronged the fair and sacrificed animals found in the nearby forest area.