From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2006:
KOLKATA, CAPE TOWN, LOS ANGELES–Challenging public animal
sacrifice at the Kailghat Temple in Kolkata since 2000,
Compassionate Crusaders Trust founder Debasis Chakrabarti won a
September 15, 2006 verdict from the Calcutta High Court that the
ritual killings may no longer be conducted in open public view.
The 200-year-old Kalighat temple, beside the Hoogly River,
is among the most visited sites of sacrifice to the blood goddess
Kali. Chakrabarti previously tried to persuade devotees that
donating blood to hospital blood drives would be as acceptable to the
Anti-sacrifice demonstrations and the blood drives helped to
reduce the numbers of sacrifices, Chakrabarti told news media.
Moving sacrifice inside the temple walls, Chakrabarti hopes, will
reinforce the message that it is not acceptable in modern India.
But the message and reality are somewhat at odds. Karnataka,
Gujarat, Orissa, Himachal, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh states
prohibit animal sacrifice. Yet sacrifice is exempted from coverage
by the federal Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, in effect since
1960, and the Indian constitution guarantees freedom of religion.
The traditionally lesser educated castes who eat meat and
practice animal sacrifice have had a much higher birth rate in recent
decades than the traditionally better educated vegetarian castes.
Seventy years after the caste system was officially abolished, caste
lines have blurred to the point that lower caste origins are no
longer an obstacle to winning economic and political success, and in
some districts are even an advantage. Vegetarianism is still widely
professed, but the population balance in India has shifted in the
space of a generation from approximately half to less than a third
actually not eating meat.