The ban on sale of meat in Mumbai during the Jain fasting period of Paryushan has given Thackeray cousins — Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and MNS president Raj Thackeray — an opportunity to restart the Marathi versus Gujarati debate. Both the leaders on Thursday struck a belligerent note against the Jain community warning them against dictating their food habits on others.
In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamna, Shiv Sena told Jains to rein in their “fanaticism”. “Muslims at least have Pakistan for them. But if this fanaticism of Jains keeps on increasing, what land do you have to go to? If you mess with the sons of the soil, you will have to eat dirt. It will not take much time to burn down your financial empire,” the editorial said. Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray is Saamna’s editorial chief.
The Sena and BJP also appeared at loggerheads on the issue of meat ban. While the Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has imposed a four-day ban on meat sale in the city, the party is taking a tough stand against the BJP-controlled Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation, which had ordered an eight-day ban before reducing it to two days on Wednesday evening as protests grew louder.
The Sena editorial said that invoking a ban on the eating habits of people was a form of violence. “There is drought in the state and people are going hungry.
However, Jains in Mumbai and its neighborhood have created a controversy over vegetarianism and non-vegetarianism. Demanding a ban on meat in such times is inhuman and a form of violence,” the editorial said.
It also warned the Jains against growing fanaticism in their community. Reminding the Jains and Gujaratis that it was the “Hindu Marathi boys” who saved them during the 1992-93 Mumbai riots, the editorial asked: “What has led to this change of heart? It is because of the shift in power centre or because of their burgeoning wealth?”