A year after a controversy broke over demands for an eight-day ban on meat during the Jain community’s holy period of Paryushan, the contentious demand will be made again. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Colaba Raj Purohit, also the party’s chief whip in the Legislative Assembly, has demanded that the existing two-day ban on the slaughter of animals at the Deonar abattoir and sale of meat in the city be extended to four days.
The Jain community will observe Paryushan, a fasting period, from August 29 to September 5. As per the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) existing plans, the Deonar abattoir and sale of meat would be banned on August 29 and September 5 only. “I have written to the BMC, requesting that they extend the two-day meat ban to four days like earlier. I am now consulting Jain organisations on the issue and a delegation will soon meet the civic chief to press for a four-day ban,” Purohit told The Indian Express on Monday.
“Like any other community, the Jain community’s feelings should be considered. The Jain community’s demand is fair,” said Purohit. Last year, following the controversy over the ban, what was initially planned as a four-day meat ban was reduced to just two days. “So, the two-day rule will be continued this year too,” said Yogesh Shetye, general manager of the Deonar abattoir.
The civic body had justified the proposed four-day ban last year, saying that the decision to ban sale of meat had been taken based on corporation resolutions passed in 1964 and 1994 and the state government’s 2004 resolution. However last year, the controversy over the meat ban erupted after the BJP-ruled Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation banned sale of meat and slaughter of animals for eight days during the fasting season.
Subsequently, the BMC also announced a four-day ban on meat after demands by BJP legislators and the Jain organisations. The Shiv Sena, an alliance partner of the BJP in the BMC, had opposed the proposal as there was a huge outcry over it. The Sena had said that it was a violation of the basic rights of people who wished to consume meat on those days.
Subsequently, senior Sena corporator and party leader in the BMC, Trushna Vishwasrao, had moved a motion to reduce the period of the ban in Mumbai. The motion was passed without any opposition from the BJP. The BJP, this year, seems to have taken a more cautious view on the meat ban issue. In the Mira Bhaynder Municipal Corporation (MBMC), BJP leaders have decided to ban sale of meat for two days, citing government rules. “An NCP corporator had moved a motion, stating that the ban should be extended to eight days. But we stuck to the government rules and passed a decision to ban sale only for two days,” said BMC Mayor Geeta Jain.