In another initiative pleasing to animal rights activists, the Tamil Nadu Government today banned animal and bird sacrifice in temples throughout the State.
This is the second time in three days the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, has intervened in the interest of animals put to suffering in temples.
On Tuesday, she ordered that temple elephants be given a one-month holiday every year.
The Chief Minister has now written to District Collectors, Superintendents of Police and range Deputy Inspectors-General, asking them to prevent the killing of animals in the name of propitiating gods. Stringent action should be taken against violators, she told them.
Tracing the events which led to her intervention, an official release said about 500 buffaloes were sacrificed at a village temple near Tiruchi recently.
The event, which took place right in front of the Deputy Superintendent of Police, who was in charge of the security of the area, was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, who ordered the Director-General of Police to place the DSP under suspension.
In her letter to the district authorities, she pointed out that the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1950, and its subsequent amendment, banned the killing of animals and birds in temples and on their premises.
She told the authorities to advise and prevent people from indulging in such cruel acts to seek the blessings of Gods. Offenders would have to be dealt with sternly, she said.
In recent weeks, cow slaughter and animal rights became politicised following a proposal to bring in a bill in Parliament to ban cow slaughter.
While Ms. Jayalalithaa expressed herself in favour of the Bill, the DMK president, M. Karunanidhi, opposed the measure, saying it was discriminatory.
He said if it all a ban were to be imposed, it should cover all animals.