By Colombo Telegraph -
“Contrary to certain media reports, there is no agreement by the Government to allow animal sacrifices to be performed at the Sri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil, Munneswaram, in Chilaw.” says Lalith Weerathunga, the Secretary to the President.
We below reproduce the his statements in full;
Cruelty to animals and ritual sacrifice
Contrary to certain media reports, there is no agreement by the Government to allow animal sacrifices to be performed at the Sri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil, Munneswaram, in Chilaw.
In my office as the Secretary to the President, I did convey the Government’s appreciation of the Kovil authorities acceding to the request of HE the President to stop animal slaughter at this Kovil, during the period of the exposition and veneration of the Sacred Kapilavastu relics of the Buddha, which ended yesterday. This is in no way an agreement for the ritual slaughter of animals to be carried out.
The media is entirely wrong in stating that I had visited these sacrifices several times. This is furthest from the truth. I have never visited such events at this or any other place.
Similarly, the statements that certain other high ranking personalities, close to HE the President, in family and office, had participated in these rituals are also completely wrong and without any foundation in truth. These statements allegedly made by Kali Mutta Shivapada Sunderam, the Chief Priest of the Munneswaram Kovil, appear to be tendentious and made for the purpose of clearing the way for these ritual sacrifices of animals to be continued.
Both in principle and policy the Government is against cruelty to animals that takes place in these ritual sacrifices. The Mahinda Chinthana has clearly stated opposition to all forms of cruelty to animals.
The Government is aware that the matter of Cruelty to Animals is at present before the judiciary. As such it would respectfully await the conclusion of these proceedings until further action is taken on this matter.
The Government is also aware that the ritual sacrifice of animals is not acceptable to the Hindu Community, which considers it a sinful act, as clearly stated by the All Ceylon Hindu Congress. Similarly, the majority of other faiths in the country do not accept animal sacrifice in their worship and rituals, and importantly, all faiths in our country are against cruelty to animals. The feelings of all these communities and all others, who are opposed to such cruelty to animals, will be taken into consideration in making a necessary decision on this matter. It will not be done on any political lines, but in keeping with the principles of ahimsa, and the compassionate and humane treatment of animals, which is an integral part of Sri Lankan culture.
Meanwhile, the Police have been clearly instructed to strictly implement the prevailing law against Cruelty to Animals, irrespective of the institutions, organizations or personalities that may seek to violate its provisions.