The Ahmedabad city police on Sunday evacuated a makeshift animal market held at the Ravivari bazaar (Sunday market) on the Sabarmati Riverfront ahead of Bakri Eid even as Ahmedabad city police commissioner Ashish Bhatia passed an order under Section 144 prohibiting animal sacrifice in public places or animal processions in Ahmedabad city.
The notification not only prohibited sacrifice in public, but also in private places where it would be “visible to the public”, as it could “disrupt communal harmony”.
On Sunday morning, a makeshift animal market was set up at the Ellis Bridge near Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad where a huge number of customers showed up, thereby violating social distancing norms, leading to police and authorities removing the market from the spot by afternoon.
A senior police official of ‘C’ division in Ahmedabad city, told this paper, “The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) officials informed the police about the crowd at the Ravivari/Gujari market at Ellis Bridge and that social distancing guidelines are being violated. As per orders of the AMC officials, the market was vacated today. No case has been registered.”
This year because of Covid-19, the two biggest bakra mandis (goat markets) in Ahmedabad and Surat were not held ahead of the festival to be celebrated on August 1 this year, which compelled goat and sheep traders to go online.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, Ahmedabad is also witnessing a rising trend of ‘Hisse wali Qurbani’ where people pool in money to buy an animal for its subsequent sacrifice.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Mujahid Nafees, a city-based activist and convenor of the Minority Coordination Committee of Gujarat (MCCG), the concept of ‘Hisse wali Qurbani’ is an old Islamic practice which has gained popularity this year.
“As per the Islamic traditions, every qurbani animal has seven parts (hissa) wherein if a family member does qurbani, then they also include six other members’ names in the act who have the duty to perform qurbani as per the customs. However, this year we are seeing that a number of Masjids in old city Ahmedabad have set up counters where they have given the option to public to claim their part in the qurbani. The reason is that animal markets are shut and people are apprehensive about getting in crowded spaces because of coronavirus,” Nafees said.
“Also, there are certain guidelines by the government which prohibits the act of slaughtering in public places. In the recent years, due to incidents of mob lynching related to bovine transportation, many people are apprehensive about transporting animals in the city on their own as they are unsure of their own safety and whether they will be given permission or not by the police. In these circumstances, mosque committees and other philanthropist organisations have become safe, trustworthy and centralized spaces where people can pool in money to ensure that their duty of Qurbani is completed in a safe and hygienic place. People are also given option to either claim their share of animal meat or donate it to the poor after the qurbani act,” he added.
As per an order released on Saturday, the directives of the Ahmedabad city police will be enforced from July 27 to August 5.
“It is prohibited to kill any animal in public as well as private places where it can be visible to the public. It is prohibited to take out any ‘decked-up’ animal as part of procession in public places. After the qurbani act of Bakri Eid, it is prohibited to throw any bones, meat or animal remains in public places. It is compulsory for everyone to wear masks and follow social distancing in public places and it is prohibited to spit in public places. The guidelines issued by the state and Union governments for the Coronavirus pandemic must be followed (sic),” read the notification.
“As part of celebrations, qurbani of different types of animals is done. If the killing is visible to public then the belief of people from other communities can be hurt leading to disruption of communal harmony (sic),” read the order.
On July 15, Shamsher Singh, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), CID Crime and Railways, had issued an order to all police commissioners of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot asking them to ensure that antisocial elements in the name of ‘gau rakshaks’ (cow vigilantes) do not harass those transporting legal livestock on the highway ahead of Bakri Eid.
“In the coming days ahead of the festival, many antisocial elements in the guise of gau rakshaks try to assault or threaten those transporting sheep, goat and livestock on the national highway. Kindly ensure that they do not harass those driving trucks and take strict action against them (sic),” read the circular.
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