The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday stayed a state government notification declaring the entire district of Haridwar as a “slaughter-free area” and allowed the slaughter of animals for Eid al-Adha on July 10 at a slaughterhouse in the Manglaur municipality in the district.
A division bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice R C Khulbe directed that on Eid al-Adha, slaughtering of animals should be done only at the legally compliant slaughterhouse–constructed in public-private partnership–in the municipality, and asked the civic body to publicise the court directive. They also directed the petitioner who questioned the government order to ensure that no slaughtering is done elsewhere in the district.
On March 3 last year, the BJP government declared urban local bodies in Haridwar district–two municipal corporations, two nagar palika parishads and five nagar panchayats–“slaughterhouse-free areas” and cancelled clearances issued to operate slaughterhouses. The urban development department’s notification came ahead of the Kumbh Mela. BJP MLAs from the area had earlier given a letter to then chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, demanding that slaughterhouses not be allowed in a “religious city like Haridwar”.
Faisal Hussain, a Haridwar resident, approached the high court saying the slaughter of animals was an essential religious practice in lslam and that for the Eid al-Adha festival, the slaughtering of animals should be allowed at the abattoir in Manglaur, which was constructed last year but could not function owing to the blanket ban on animal slaughter in the district.
Kartikey Hari Gupta, counsel for Hussain, showed the court a photograph of last year’s Eid al-Adha celebrations during which, despite all bans, large-scale slaughtering of animals was done on open streets in Manglaur. Gupta also argued that banning slaughtering without making the legally compliant slaughterhouse operational would not solve any problem.
He submitted that 87.45 per cent of the municipality’s population was Muslim. The area is about 45km from Haridwar town and if the slaughtering of animals is allowed at a slaughterhouse in Manglaur, the religious sentiments of Hindus will not be hurt, he pleaded.
Confirming the court stay on the government order, Gupta told The Indian Express the slaughterhouse was constructed in February last year, and that a blanket ban was imposed on animal slaughter within a week of its owners applying to start operations.
“In 2011 the high court ordered the construction of a slaughterhouse within three years. But it did not happen, and only in 2016 did the state government permit the Manglaur nagar palika to construct the slaughterhouse in the PPP mode. The construction was completed in February 2021. In March, however, the government declared the entire Haridwar district slaughter-free. We challenged this and said that Manglaur is 45 km away from Haridwar town and thus will not affect the religious sentiments of Hindus. We also mentioned that the slaughterhouse was sanctioned by the government itself,” he said.