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Sikkim Temporarily Bans Meat Sales for Buddhist ‘Saga Dawa’

Image showing Saga Dawa Celebration

Gangtok: In observance of ‘Saga Dawa,’ a significant month in the Buddhist calendar followed by Tibetan people, the state government of Sikkim has announced the closure of all meat shops until June 4. The decision to ban animal slaughter during this period was made by the Ecclesiastical department.

To ensure the observance of ‘Saga Dawa’ in Sikkim, all meat shops are required to remain closed from May 27 to June 4, according to the department’s notification.

In exceptional circumstances, such as marriage ceremonies, social events, and the feeding of zoo animals, the import of meat from outside the state may be permitted. However, importers must first obtain permission from the Ecclesiastical Department.

While fish shops have been exempted from the closure, it is suggested that selling fish during this period be avoided out of respect for religious sentiments.

According to the notification, individuals caught engaging in animal slaughter during this duration will face penalties as outlined by the law, including fines of up to Rs 1,000.

Saga Dawa is regarded as a significant month in the Buddhist tradition, commemorating the birth, enlightenment, and passing away (parinirvana) of Lord Buddha. Many Buddhists and Tibetan people participate in various religious activities and observe vegetarianism during this period.

The closure of meat shops is a part of the government’s efforts to promote a peaceful and respectful atmosphere for the observance of Saga Dawa. By temporarily halting animal slaughter, the authorities aim to uphold the religious sentiments of the community.

Tashi Gyatso, a local resident and practicing Buddhist, expressed his support for the decision, stating, “Saga Dawa holds immense spiritual significance for us. It is a time of reflection and compassion. The closure of meat shops is a small sacrifice to make to honor this sacred month.”

The government’s initiative has received mixed reactions from residents, with some expressing inconvenience due to the temporary ban on meat sales. However, others view it as an opportunity to explore vegetarian options and embrace the spirit of Saga Dawa.

The authorities have urged residents to cooperate with the temporary closure and respect the religious observances of fellow citizens. The Ecclesiastical department has assured that strict measures will be implemented to ensure compliance with the ban.

Saga Dawa is widely celebrated across Sikkim, and individuals partake in various religious practices, including visiting monasteries, engaging in prayer sessions, and engaging in acts of charity.

As June 4 approaches, the closure of meat shops will continue to be enforced, and individuals are encouraged to seek alternative food options during this period. The state government aims to foster an atmosphere of unity and reverence during the observance of Saga Dawa, emphasizing the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding among all residents.

The temporary closure of meat shops in Sikkim until June 4, as part of the observance of Saga Dawa, demonstrates the government’s commitment to respecting the religious sentiments of its citizens. While some individuals may face inconvenience, the initiative aims to create an atmosphere of peace and reflection during this auspicious month.

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Gangtokian Web Team, 28/05/23

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