If the BJP has its way, carnivores in the city will have to endure a dry spell later this month, starting August 22 and continuing till Ganesh Chaturthi. The party has asked Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte to shut down all slaughterhouses in Mumbai for eight days from August 22 to August 29, to mark Paryushan, a ritual of the Jain community.
Mumbai’s biggest slaughterhouse lies in Deonar. File pic
The party had made the same request last year, and even had its way, with slaughterhouses remaining shut for three days. Emboldened by last year’s ban, the BJP has demanded for an eight-day-long prohibition on slaughter-houses this year.
A letter was submitted to Kunte on Monday, to this effect. Other smaller organisations have also written to the municipal commissioner, asking for an eight-day long prohibition on slaughterhouses as well as butcher shops. They also want stern instructions to be issued to butchers that strong action will be taken against them, if they open shop in any of the days.
Not stopping at just a letter, the state’s general secretary and RSS man, Atul Bhatkalkar, BJP’s state vice-president Manisha Chowdhury and BJP’s group leader in BMC, Manoj Kotak, even met the civic commissioner.
Kotak confirmed that his party had sent a letter to the commissioner, saying, “We have asked the commissioner to strictly impose the eight-day closure on all slaughterhouses in the city.
Even last year, we had asked for the prohibition. A three-day ban was accepted by the commissioner last year.” The party wants this ban to be made an annual feature. Kotak added, “We are asking the slaughterhouses to be closed during Paryushan, as many Jains live in Mumbai and observe this festival. The commissioner has given us a positive response, but we hope that from next year onwards, he shuts down slaughterhouses of his own accord.”
According to a BJP source, the duration of the prohibition was increased from three days to eight with an eye on the approaching state assembly elections. “There’s a large population of Jains in many pockets of Mumbai. They are our voters, most of them are well-settled and don’t ask for major favours from political parties.
But at the same time, the Jain community is very sensitive when it comes to religion and religious activities. By asking for a longer ban on slaughter houses, the BJP is trying to strike a chord with the religious community. We are hopeful it will benefit us,” said the BJP leader, requesting anonymity.
Mumbai’s biggest slaughter house lies in Deonar. While BJP has asked for a closure of slaughter houses, other organisations have asked for a complete closure of butcher shops. Sitaram Kunte remained unavailable for comment.