With the Islamic world celebrating Eid al-Adha, Dhaka citizens have been grappling with a river of blood. Pictures of blood stained Dhaka streets are flooding the Internet. The massive scale of animal sacrifice on the occasion of Eid has mingled with floodwater in several parts of the capital city, to create this bloodbath.
A BBC report suggests that as many as 100,000 livestock were slaughtered this Eid in Dhaka. These immolations took place mostly on the streets or in the car parks of residences. Eid coincided with heavy monsoon showers, which exacerbated the issue. Flooding isn’t a new concern in Dhaka. Many older parts of the Bangladeshi capital suffer from poor infrastructure and drainage.
Most of the “blood rivers” occurred in the suburb of Shantinagar and its neighbouring regions; blood and animal waste mixed with the waters to create this horrific sight – residents were seen trudging along ankle-deep bloody water.Both flooding and animal sacrifices are commonplace in Bangladesh. Thus, not many locals have expressed shock at the situation. But the images have caught the imagination of the Internet.
Eid al-Adha is an annual holiday here, and is Bangladesh’s second most celebrated festival after Eid al-Fitr. Eid al-Adha is a remembrance of the day prophet Ibrahim became prepared to sacrifice his son Ishmael (according to the Islamic scriptures).
Livestock, which includes goats and cows are bought from the marketplace by practising Muslims, and sacrificed as a symbol of gratitude to Allah, for sparing Ishmael, following an imam’s (the person who leads the prayer service at a mosque) reading of the Koran. While the offal and waste are discarded, the rest of the meat is distributed among friends, family and the poor.
Since many families resort to animal sacrifice on the streets, there is a certain amount of blood outside every year, which takes a few days to clear out.
However, due to the heavy showers, the streets appear to be washed with blood.
The images shared online have lead to many animal activists creating a hue and cry, while others have sided with the Islamic tradition calling it a religious duty. Defenders of the custom have also argued that this act offers livelihood for livestock farmers and that the poor get to partake of the meat.
Residents have duly criticised the city administration for a flawed drainage system, which has been a long-pending issue in many areas. City authorities have argued that they had specifically chalked out areas for animal slaughter, so this problem should not have occurred had the residents followed the rules. A waste management official working with Dhaka South City Corporation informed Dhaka Tribune that steps were being taken to resolve the crisis.
Sources: BBC, The Guardian