The Vadodara unit of the BJP has requested city’s slaughterhouses to remain closed on Monday to mark the birthday of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. The city unit of the BJP will go around the city asking private meat vendors also to close, said party’s city unit president Dr Vijay Shah.
In a release on Sunday, the BJP has said that “in a first-of-its-kind tribute to a sitting Chief Minister, the slaughterhouses in the city will remain closed on August 2 to pay respect to Rupani”, since he is a believer of Jainism that preaches non-violence.
The BJP release said, “Slaughterhouses across the state remain closed on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti every year. Since Vijay Rupani is a staunch believer of the principles of non-violence of Jainism, city unit president Dr Vijay Shah had appealed to the administrators of slaughterhouses in the city to keep their facilities closed for one day on Monday to mark the birthday of Vijay Rupani. They have all agreed…”
The association of butchers, who mainly belong to the Qureshi community, told The Indian Express that they had not received any request from the party or intimation by the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) which runs one slaughterhouse in Kalupur area of the city and regulates legal slaughter in private shops.
Hanif Qureshi, president of the Qureshi Jamat of Vadodara, told The Indian Express, “We have not received any notice from the authorities nor has anyone from the party approached any member of our community. So the private meat shops will be open as usual. The butchers, however, were told on Sunday that the slaughterhouse will remain closed on Monday, without any reasons. The VMC can only close the slaughterhouse on pre-decided days of the year by official notice.”
When The Indian Express contacted some butchers who sell meat at the VMC slaughterhouse, they said that the officer of the corporation, who issues the daily receipt to the vendors, verbally informed them that the place will remain closed on Monday.
Qayyum Qureshi, 42, who has been selling meat at the VMC slaughterhouse for 28 years, said, “The officer who came to issue the usual daily receipts to the vendors verbally informed everyone that the slaughterhouse will remain closed on Monday… When we asked him why was there no notice, as it is usually done on official closure days of the year, he did not give any explanation. We did not even know that it is the birthday of Vijay Rupani.”
Mohammad Ibrahim Qureshi, who is a second-generation butcher at the slaughterhouse and has been selling meat from here for 13 years, said, “We make about Rs 1,000 per day… We don’t know why the slaughterhouse is closed tomorrow. But since it is an order from the authorities, even if verbal, we will have to follow it.”
“Why should someone’s choice of profession or choice of the meal be an impediment to someone else’s belief? If this is added to the list of the no-meat days, there will be more BJP leaders who will seek similar honour. What will the poor butchers do,” said Hanif.
VMC medical officer for health, Dr Devesh Patel, said, “We have made a request to the butchers and they have agreed to close the slaughterhouse tomorrow. Since it is not a day on the official list of closure, we cannot enforce it or issue a notice. It has to be closed voluntarily by the butchers.” Patel did not comment on the claims made by butchers that the VMC health officers did not seek their consent but only informed them about the closure.
Vijay Shah told The Indian Express that the party had written to the VMC to close its slaughterhouse on Monday and approached seven private meat vendors to join in. “There are no-meat days that are officially declared and notified, based on religious beliefs of people. As the president of the city BJP, we have requested slaughterhouses to remain closed as respect to the Chief Minister, on his birthday, since he believes in Jainism. But it is their choice. Our party workers will go out and request all meat shops in the city to close but we will not force them.”