The Mumbai Police has recently issued an order prohibiting its personnel from celebrating ‘Gatari’ in the premises of the police stations. As part of Gatari, which is celebrated a day before the start of the Shravan month in the Hindu calendar, several police stations had in the past slaughtered a chicken or a goat and later distributed the meat as prasad. “Earlier, we would cut a chicken’s neck at the gate of the police station and if the chicken managed to limp for a few seconds, then it was considered as a sign of good luck for the police station,” said a senior officer. Many also thought this would make the areas under their jurisdiction more peaceful.
This year, the month of Shravan starts on August 12, during which many Hindus abstain from eating non-vegetarian food and consuming alcohol. So, the night of Gatari Amavasya (no moon) — the night before Shravan begins — is celebrated with non-vegetarian meals and alcoholic beverages.
Officials have warned the lower rung police personnel that they shall be liable for punishment under the Mumbai Municipality Act, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and Bombay Police Act, if they were found celebrating Gatari inside police stations. All the senior inspectors and inspector in charges of crime units have been ordered to monitor the situation and keep their subordinates away from such activities.
The order, issued last Saturday, stated that it has been learnt that Gatari is celebrated in some police stations, two to three days prior to Shravan. As a part of the celebration, a chicken or a goat was culled at the police station with a belief that the souls of accident and murder victims will rest in peace.
“This meat is later distributed in the police station as prasad and such superstition needs to be stopped,” said an IPS officer requesting anonymity.
In July 2012, a similar order was issued by then commissioner of police Arup Patnaik. However, despite the order, several police stations would still secretly celebrate Gatari.
“Earlier, we would slaughter a chicken or a goat and ask a chef from our jurisdiction to cook biryani. But since our superiors started sending strict orders, we had to stop,” said a senior inspector from a suburban police station.