After a widely criticized beef ban in Maharashtra, residents in a part of the state will not get any meat for eight days. The slaughter and sale of meat has been temporarily banned in those areas because of a Jain festival starting later this week.
The order was issued by the civic body in charge of Thane’s Mira Road and Bhayandar, on the outskirts of Mumbai. The Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation is headed by the BJP.
Such a ban was imposed last year too, but for only two days.
All the slaughter houses will be shut and sale of meat will be prohibited. The ban will not affect sale of chicken, fish and other sea food. BMC usually restricts slaughter and sale of meat for two days during Paryushan, this year ban is for four days- from 10 to 18th September.
The point is not four days or eight days. The point is not whether Bakhr-Id falls in the middle of it. The point is not that the planet would be better off if non-vegetarians went without their mutton for a week. It probably would.
The point is why should one group’s personal religious practice, proscription or prescription, be imposed on everyone else? It does not matter what they do in Saudi Arabia. We do not live in Saudi Arabia. For that matter we do not live in Akbar’s empire either where the royal firmaan was the last word on the subject.
We live in a secular republic. And Muslims cannot demand everyone else go on a fast during Ramadan just as Jains should not demand everyone else stop eating meat during Paryushan.
The problem with any ban like this is the precedent it sets. The court might have thought nine days was not an unreasonable compromise in Gujarat. “Out of respect, for their sentiments surely the non-vegetarians can remain vegetarian for 9 days in a year”.
That Supreme Court ruling specifically talks only about the “large population of Jains in Rajasthan and Gujarat”. But as we can see now what happens in Ahmedabad can easily cross over to Mumbai. And once we start going down the slippery slope an innocuous two days can become four can become eight can become…?
The irony is all this is being done in the name of tolerance. One person’s tolerance can become another person’s appeasement. And if one community cannot “tolerate” another’s practice, whatever that practice, then the very idea of tolerance becomes weaker for all.
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