SOFT-SHELL TURTLE SACRIFICED ON SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEF
Chittaranjan Baruah and Rituparna Bora
CWRCA- Gauhati University & BIO iLLUMINA, Guwahati
Animal sacrifice is common at the Shakti temples in Assam. But, for the first time Turtle come into news.On26th April 09, a local tribe of Naogaon District, Assam, sacrificed soft-shell turtle to satisfy the Goddess Kali (Kechai Khaiti). The photograph appeared in a local daily of Guwahati, Janasadharan, on 28 April, 09.
After getting the news, the Centre for Wildlife Research and Conservation Action (CWRCA), Zoology Department, Gauhati University and BIOiLLUMINA (A non govt. society) interviewed the photo journalist and came to know that a local community in the Bordowa district of Assam, India has the tradition of sacrificing turtles every year in the month of April since 1200 BC. It is to be noted that only the male community is participating in the tradition. According to the photo journalist, the soft-shell turtle species, locally known as Bor Kacha (Scientific name: Nilssonia hurum) is being sacrificed to satisfy the Goddess Kali.
The CWRCA, Zoology Department, Gauhati University is in the process of motivating the local community against this practice of sacrificing the turtle due to superstitious belief. There is an urgent need of conservation education, awareness and motivation towards sustainable livelihood for conserving the freshwater turtle diversity as a whole and soft-shell turtle in particular.
Photo: UB photo, a premier news photo supplier of the northeast of India (www.ubphotos.com/)
Source: Janasadharan, Vol. 7, Issue 113, Tuesday, 28th April, 2009, Page 1. (www.janasadharan.in)