Facing heat over the four-day meat ban in Mumbai, especially from its ally Shiv Sena, the BJP yesterday called for an end to the controversy and asked the BMC to reduce the duration of the ban to two days.
In consideration of the Jain fasting period, Paryushan, the BMC had announced a prohibition on the slaughter of animals and sale of meat for four days – Thursday, Sunday and September 17 and 18.
mid-day had earlier reported that after the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) passed the BJP’s proposal for an eight-day ban, the party also proposed extending the ban to nine days in BMC limits (‘Ban on meat sale: Shiv Sena to crack down on corporators in Mira-Bhayander’, mid-day, September 8).
Following a backlash from other parties, however, the MBMC reduced the ban period to two days — the minimum period ordered by the state government. Yesterday, BJP city president Ashish Shelar asked BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta to reduce the ban period to two days as well.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the Balasaheb Thackeray Bridge at Jogeshwari last morning — where Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was also present — Shelar said, “We need to treat all religions equally. We must pull the curtain on this controversy.”
At the same function, Uddhav had retorted, “Who started the controversy in the first place? I’m ready to stop the debate.” Uddhav also questioned why such strong demands were being made for the ban, especially to increase the duration.
“The decision (to implement the ban) was there in the past as well, but no effort was made to prolong the days of ban earlier,” he said, adding that the Sena would not bear the ‘unreasonable demands’ of the Jain community any further. Earlier, the Congress, NCP and the Sena had accused the BJP of pushing for the ban to appease the Jain vote bank.
Yesterday, the BJP also sought to distance itself from the issue. Shelar clarified that CM Devendra Fadnavis was not involved in any of the decisions related to the ban. “The decision is entirely by the BMC.
The commissioner should amend the resolution (about the duration of the ban) passed in the BMC general body meeting and also clarify the reasons behind the delay in action, if any,” he said. Shelar’s statement is seen as taking a step back because of the Sena’s hard stance.
Uddhav had threatened on Wednesday that the Sainiks would take to the streets (which they did in parts of the city yesterday) if the ban was not lifted. “We will not let anyone control the eating habits of the people,” the Shiv Sena chief had said.
'This is maharashtra, not gujarat'
Yesterday, on the first day of the meat ban, the MNS ran its own meat shop in Dadar. Some party workers were detained by the police. “Jains should not decide what Maharashtrians can eat.
This is Maharashtra, not Gujarat. My party will protect the sellers who are stopped from running their shops,” said MNS chief Raj Thackeray.