Indian among two pilgrims killed in accident in Nepal

Shirish B Pradhan

Kathmandu, Dec 4 (PTI) Two pilgrims, including an Indian woman, were killed and 16 others injured on Wednesday when a jeep they were travelling in met with an accident in southern Nepal while they were returning after participating in the animal sacrifice at Gadhimai temple.

Eighteen people were on the jeep when the accident took place in Mahottari district of southern Nepal. They were returning home after participating in the five-yearly Gadhimai Festival, believed to be the world's biggest animal sacrifice at one place, in Bara district, about 160 km south of Kathmandu.

Those who died in the accident have been identified as Bartniya Devi Shah, 65, of Sitahi, Bihar and Sakuntala Devi Shah, 80, a resident of Dhanushadham in Dhanusha district, police said.

The condition of four people who were injured in the accident is said to be critical.

Tens of thousands of people have poured in from different parts of Nepal and India to take part in the festival to honour a Hindu goddess.

Around 70 per cent of the pilgrims at the festival come from neighbouring India as authorities in the country do not allow such acts of animal sacrifice.

Animal rights activists, civil society groups and vegan groups have been campaigning for the past couple of months to stop the blood shed.

Despite efforts from different quarters to stop the massive killing of animals, Nepali authorities express helplessness in stopping the age-old, faith-based tradition. PTI PMS PMS