The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) agreed for a four-day ban on sale of meat in Mumbai on Monday. Slaughter of animals will not be allowed in city abattoirs, meat and poultry shops and fish markets will be shut on — September 10, 13, 17 and 18 — the days of Jain ritual of Paryushan, civic officials said.
Restaurants, however, may serve meat, claimed a spokesperson of the Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR).
The move came days after the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Municipal Corporation’s (MBMC) controversial decision to ban meat sale for eight days in the city.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too demanded a ban on sale of meat and functioning of slaughter houses for the entire fasting period observed by the community. The Jain community observes a fast for eight days, Paryushan, which will be observed from September 10-17 this year.
Senior BJP legislators Raj Purohit and Atul Bhatkhalkar met civic chief Ajoy Mehta, demanding the ban. This evoked strong protests from the Shiv Sena and other parties that said neither the civic body nor a community could decide what others ate. The opposition also termed the BJP’s demand a way to appease the vote bank.
Terming the move unjust, MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande said the BJP has gone against the eating habits of the Marathi-speaking population. “The BJP cannot decide when and what kind of food we can eat. During our fasting period or an auspicious month like Shravan, we do not ask for a ban on meat across the city. Why is a particular community being favoured?”
Samajwadi Party corporator Rais Shaikh said: “The BJP is trying to please a section of people by meeting such demands. It cannot interfere with the eating habits of citizens. We condemn this move.”
Congress’ Devendra Amberkar, the opposition leader in the BMC, said: “Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city where vegetarians and meat-eating citizens reside. Since many years, all communities have been living together despite several religious festivals. Why is one political party favouring a community now and banning others from eating meat?”
But, Jain association Vishwamaitri Trust Ahimsa Sangh submitted an application to civic chief Ajoy Mehta, asking for an eight-day ban on Monday. In 2013, there was a twoday ban on sale of meat during this period.