Were leading animal charities scammed?
KATHMANDU, Nepal––Could the Humane Society of the U.S., Humane Society International, and leading Indian and Nepalese animal charities all have been scammed by the July 28, 2015 alleged agreement of the Gadhi Mai Temple Trust to discontinue animal sacrifice?
Was there some misunderstanding about the nature of the agreement signed by four senior Gadhi Mai Temple Trust representatives in Patna, India, in front of numerous media representatives?
Or did the Gadhi Mai Temple Trust representatives renege on the agreement, less than 24 hours after signing it?
Deal to end mass killing
The agreement appeared to means the end of mass sacrifices held every five years at Bariyarpur, in western Nepal near the Indian border, which have become increasingly controversial since first emerging into media view in 1999.
Representatives of HSUS, HSI, and People for Animals on July 29, 2015 expressed confidence that the deal announced the day before is sound and will be observed by the Gadhi Mai Temple Trust.
The leading Kathmandu newspaper The Republica, however, bannered “Gadhimai Trust dismisses reports on animal sacrifice ban.”
Wrote Republica correspondents Praveen Kumar Yadav and Ritesh Tripathi, “The Gadhimai Temple Trust has dismissed Tuesday’s reports in international media that claimed that the trust has agreed to stop animal sacrifice during Gadhimai festival. ‘We have not made any statement regarding stopping animal sacrifices during the festival,’ Ram Chandra Sah, chairperson of the trust, told Republica.’”
Of possible note is that the Republica account repeatedly misspelled Ram Chandra Shah’s surname, and used the colloquial spelling “Gadhimai,” rather than the more grammatically accurate “Gadhi Mai.” But the colloquial spelling is almost universally used in India and internationally, and is widely used in Nepal too.
Founded in 2009, The República is a news distribution partner of The New York Times.
“I will be happiest if I had that paper”
Responded Nepal Animal Welfare & Research Center founder Uttam Dahal, “I am expecting nothing other than an original copy of the letter sent by the Gadhi Mai Temple Trust to Humane Society International,” by way of verification of the agreement to end animal sacrifices at the temple.
“I have nothing to do with this decision until and unless the government of Nepal and the Supreme Court of Nepal give validity to the published news,” Dahal added. “I will be the most happiest if I had that piece of paper. As published, nothing is mentioned by the chairman about banning of sacrifices at Gadhi Mai!”
“Certainly this is rubbish!”
But while Dahal was cautious, pending release of documentation which became available hours later, Humane Society International/India consultant and People for Animals trustee Gauri Maulekhi said of the Republica report, “Certainly this is rubbish. We have a duly signed affidavit given by the temple committee in which they have clearly stated that not only will they prohibit animal sacrifice in Gadhimai but also actively campaign against it in Nepal. They held another press conference today in Patna.”
Continued Maulekhi, “We were sitting beside them while they made press announcements and signed the affidavit and the whole event is videographed. So no need to call them to confirm anything. There is a huge pro-sacrifice media segment,” Maulekhi alleged, “which is causing mischief by misquoting. The funny thing is, the temple guys have no clue what’s brewing in newspapers. So far, their intentions seem honorable,” Maulekhi said, advising “It is best to ignore baseless controversies.”
“They are slippery”
Assessed Humane Society International representative Jayasimha Geethaprabhu Nuggehalli, in a Facebook posting, “I agree that they [the Gadhi Mai Temple Trust representatives] are slippery,” but he added soon afterward:
“There has been a false media report doubting the Gadhimai announcement. Please see the signed and notarized declaration from the temple trust.”
With that, Nuggehalli posted copies of the two-page document.
The signed statement
Read the document in full:
“We, the members of the Gadhimai temple committee of Bariyarpur, Nepal, after considerable deliberations and discussions, have resolved to actively abolish all future animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai temple on all occasions hereafter by ensuring the following:
“The temple priest will neither participate in, nor encourage the sacrifice of any animal or bird at or around the premises of the Gadhimai temple in Bariyarpur, Nepal.
“The temple committee will ensure an alternative use for the arena previously used for animal sacrifice so that henceforth no animals are brought there for sacrifice.
Priest to campaign against animal sacrifice
“The temple committee, along with the priest, Mangal Chaudhary Tharu, will actively promote and campaign against animal sacrifice and notify the public about their decision to end animal sacrifice. Such promotion and campaign will take place extensively in Nepal, especially in the regions adjoining Bariyarpur and in parts of India from where devotees come to the Gadhimai mela.
“All arrangements for animal sacrifice that were previously made by the temple committee of Gadhimai and/or its Mela committee such as appointment/registration of butchers for sacrifice, calling for tenders for meat and leather, creation of any infrastructure of facilitation of any animal sacrifice, any ritual related to promotion of animal sacrifice, such as blessing the butchers, conducting the ‘Panchbali’ (inaugural sacrifice of five animals by the chief priest of the Gadhimai temple), will not be allowed henceforth for any occasion at any time of the year.
“Any devotee who brings an animal for sacrifice at Gadhimai temple in Bariyarpur, Nepal will be sent back, and no bloodshed will be allowed in and around the temple.
“Decision will be binding”
“This declaration shall be treated as a formal declaration to end animal sacrifice completely and comprehensively at Gadhimai Temple, Bariyarpur, Nepal, by all relevant authorities and government agencies of Nepal and India.
“We, the Temple Committee of Gadhimai Temple, Bariyarpur, Nepal, most sincerely and in our full senses resolve the above on our own free will.
“This decision will be binding on any/all new members who may become part of the Temple Committee of the Gadhimai temple.”
Signees included Mangal Chaudhary Tharu, chief priest of the Gadhimai Temple Trust; Motilal Prasad Khushwaha, secretary of the Gadhimai Temple Trust; Rajendra Prasad Shah, co-secretary of the Gadhimai Temple Trust; and Tripurari Shah, a member of the Gadhimai Temple Trust.
Each was identified by the suffix “s/o,” meaning “son of” in Indian and Nepalese legal tradition, followed by the name of the signer’s father.
“We have a big task ahead of reaching out to the masses in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh , West Bengal, and Jharkhand,” Nuggehalli acknowledged, identifying these Indian states as “the primary catchment area of the devotees who come to Gadhimai,” to “ensure that they don’t bring animals to Gadhimai in 2019.”
(See also Gadhi Mai sacrifices stopped, No karmic bridge links the Nepal earthquake to Gadhi Mai; Beauty Without Cruelty-India exposes Gadhi Mai scam; The toll from Gadhi Mai 2014: 750 buffalo sacrificed, 1,000 devotees in attendance; Ignoring Thanksgiving massacre, HSUS president Wayne Pacelle denounces animal sacrifice in Nepal; Supreme Court of India ruling covers tracks on Gadhi Mai sacrifice; Exposing the truth of the Gadhi Mai sacrificial slaughter; Books shed light on sacrifice in Nepal; and The origin of the Gadhi Mai sacrifice.)