SHIMLA: The Himachal Pradesh high court order banning animal sacrifices in religious places has left the devout in the hill state in a quandary. Many believe stopping the practice of sacrificing animals to appease deities would invite divine wrath. "It is a grey area whether the animal sacrifice can be termed as religious practice or not," a division bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Sureshwar Thakur had said on Monday. "The faith, rituals and its continuation must change in the modern era. People are required to be sensitized on this issue by the state government." Following the court order, Kullu royal Maheshwar Singh has decided to convene a deities' parliament to discuss the issue before the start of the week-long Dussehra festival (October 3-9). The Kullu Devi-Devta Kardar Sangh too has called a meeting on September 13 to discuss the issue. Animal sacrifices are an intrinsic part of the Kullu Dussehra, which dates from 1637. According to the 2011 Census, Himachal Pradesh has 20,118 villages with over 26,500 places of worship. The practice of making an animal sacrifice after the fulfilment of a wish is more common in the state's upper areas. While expressing their respect for the court order, many people pleaded that animals are sacrificed on the orders of deities only. "Animals are sacrificed in the same manner that they are slaughtered in slaughter houses," said Kullu Devi-Devta Kardar Sangh president Dot Ram Thakur. "Following the court orders we would stop sacrificing them, but they would continue to be killed in slaughter houses not only in the state but across the country." He said after the September 13 meeting, they would approach the HC with a request to reconsider its decision. "We are now in a fix as we have to follow the orders of the deity and the court both," he said. "We cannot disobey any of them." Saying the deities are an important part of life, the Kardar Sangh has also decided to ask their wish on the issue of banning animal sacrifice. "We will ask their views on the issue and only then approach the court," said Thakur. Singh, who is also chief kardar of Lord Raghunath, the principal deity of Kullu, said the practice of animal sacrifice was being followed since time immemorial and was linked to people's strong faith and religious traditions. He said since religious customs associated with the deities could not be changed, they would approach the court on the issue. He said the matter would also be discussed in the jagati (deities' assembly) to be called shortly.