While citizens will not be able to buy either fresh meat from abattoirs or frozen meat from supermarkets during the four-day ban this year, they can turn to hotels and restaurants which are not restricted by the ban
This year, those looking to get their fix of non-vegetarian food during the four-day ban on meat sales in Mumbai, will either have to stock up in advance, or head to hotels or restaurants serving meat. This is because, unlike last year, the ban doesn’t just prohibit the slaughter of animals, but also restricts the sale of meat on four days (September 10, 13, 17, 18) during the Jain fasting period of Paryushan.
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Citizens will not be able to buy meat from butchers or even from frozen food counters at supermarkets this year. File pic
So while citizens could buy frozen meat from supermarkets last year, this year even stores will have to lock their meat freezers during the ban period. There is no restriction on stocking up beforehand, though. Hotels and restaurants can also continue to serve meat during the ban period.
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“Our hotels and restaurants that serve non-vegetarian food will continue to do so. The ban will not affect our business much as it is not being imposed for four days at a stretch,” said Niranjan Shetty, chairman of the BMC wing of AHAR (Indian Hotel And Restaurant Association) and also BJP spokesperson for the city.
There is also no restriction on the sale of fish. The BJP continues to draw flak from all quarters on this issue, especially since this year’s ban – unlike last year’s – covers not just the slaughter of animals, but also the sale of meat. Samajwadi Party’s Rais Shaikh wrote to BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta, asking him to revoke the no-sale policy.
“Last year, the then commissioner Sitaram Kunte had also proposed a no-sale clause in addition to the ban on slaughter, but he removed it after we objected. This year, commissioner Mehta has, on his own, added the same clause, banning the sale of meat. This year too, we will get it removed.
We have asked him to take back this arbitrary decision and apologise to the public of Mumbai,” said Shaikh. He also pointed out that there was no policy for the implementation of the ban, and questioned what the authorities intended to do if someone was found selling meat during the four days.
The four-day ban includes a two-day restriction imposed by the state, along with another two days added by the BMC. The Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation on Friday also passed BJP’s proposal to impose an eight-day ban (‘Ban on meat sale: Shiv Sena to crack down on corporators in Mira-Bhayander’, mid-day, September 8).
“Sale of meat isn’t allowed, so BMC-run slaughter houses will be shut,” said a senior officer from BMC. Even the Congress has taken the BJP to task over the ban in Mumbai and Mira-Bhayander. Sanjay Nirupam, the city unit president of Congress, said, “We opposed the ban that has been brought in by the BJP. While we respect the Jain community, we do not think it is right to curb someone’s freedom to decide what to eat.”
‘Congress did it’
However, the BJP has pointed out that the ban had first been introduced by Congress itself. Yesterday, BJP’s group leader in the BMC, Manoj Kotak showed this reporter a document dated September 2004, which ordered the BMC to shut slaughter houses for two days.
“The letter came from Mantalaya, and it was the Congress government ruling the state then. So it’s the Congress which brought this ban into effect but they are now blaming us. The Congress is trying to play a political game over this issue,” said Kotak.
In 1998, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had shut its slaughter houses for nine days. Aggrieved parties had approached the court and the matter reached the Supreme Court in 2008, when the court allowed the ban. The court order even mentioned how emperor Akbar had forbidden slaughter of animals for six months in Gujarat in consideration for the Jain community.
An affidavit by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had stated, “It is no doubt true that the religious sentiments of the Jain community are taken into consideration when imposing this ban… It is not a question of Jain community imposing its will upon rest of the people, but it is a question of one section of society who believes in kindness to animals making a request that during their religious days their sentiments may be respected for these few days, if not for all times.”