Muslim MLAs and community leaders were indignant over the reluctance of the Uddhav Thackeray government to issue a fresh set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the celebration of Eid-ul Adha on August 1.
The absence of fresh guidelines meant that some vehicles ferrying animals for the ritual sacrifice were stopped by the Mumbai Police from entering the city on Tuesday.
Muslim MLAs had met NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Monday, asking him to interject on their behalf with the government. The delegation had sought approval for ferrying of animals into Mumbai and the help of the local administration in setting up temporary slaughter houses for the ritual sacrifice.
In spite of Pawar’s assurance, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray seems to be in no mood to allow any sort of relaxations for the festival.
On Tuesday, several vehicle owners who were stopped at checkpoints and their vehicles with animals seized, complained that their animals died.
This comes after the government, in its earlier guidelines, had allowed the sale of goats either online or through calls even as it did not allow the customary Deonar market to be held this year. Some residents have, however, managed to purchase animals from makeshift markets that have come up in various pockets of the city.
People ordering goats collectively for their entire societies saw their vehicles being stopped by the police. One such resident was from Mumbai Central, Tabbish Sayyed, who had purchased 23 goats from a farmhouse in Neral. Sayyed was asked to get permission from the local police station head, before his vehicle could be allowed to pass.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Tabbish said, “We had 23 bills for each of the goats with a health certificate. But even then the police stopped us.” Tabbish waited on the road until 7 pm, only to return to the farmhouse with the goats.
Hundreds of people like Tabbish tried to reach out to Muslim leaders, who could do little except for expressing their helplessness. NCP’s Amin Patel, MLA from Mumbadevi, said he had received at least 300 calls from people stuck at different parts of the state. “We are disappointed with this government. All we are asking it is to issue SOP for following their guidelines that allowed sale of goats online or through calls,” said Patel.
Samajwadi Party’s Rais Shaikh, MLA from Bhiwandi, added: “I don’t understand what more can be done. The government has failed to issue guidelines even today, despite a meeting with Sharad Pawar and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.”
Both Shaikh and Patel maintained they had been in touch with Deshmukh, urging him to give clear guidelines to the police but to no avail.
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