All You Need To Know About The Meat Ban

Photo: Siddhartha Kandoi via Wikipedia.

Photo: Siddhartha Kandoi via Wikipedia.

The answers to your doubts about the BMC’s recent ban on meat.

What is the reason behind the ban?
The Mira-Bhayandar municipal corporation banned the slaughter of animals and sale of meat during Paryushan, an eight-day fast observed by Jains that will take place from Friday, September 11 to Friday, September 18 this year. Following the ban, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation decided to shut the Deonar abattoir and outlaw the sale of meat for four days in deference to Jains: Thursday, September 10; Sunday, September 13; Thursday, September 17 and Friday, September 18. The ban does not, however, apply to fishmongers.

Who is really behind the ban?
The BJP has been drawing flak for kowtowing to Jains while disregarding the sentiments of meat eaters. But it was the Congress that first introduced the ban. It has been in place since 2004, when the state was ruled by a Congress-led coalition.

In 2008, Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju ruled in favour of the Hinsa Virodhak Sangh, a group in Ahmedabad that had been lobbying to have meat banned during Paryushan in that city. This judgement has been brought up in the context of the current ban. In a blog post published today, Wednesday, September 9, Katju admits he’s not sure he did the right thing in favouring Hinsa Virodhak Sangh but says the judgement need not necessarily be viewed as a precedent in the case of the Mira-Bhayandar ban.

Why the outrage now?
The difference between 2004 and now is that this time, the BMC has extended the ban in the greater Mumbai area from two days to four and has stopped the sale of meat. Previously only the slaughter of meat was prohibited; butchers could sell existing stock. This is ironic as the BMC is controlled by the Shiv Sena, which is virulently opposed to the meat ban. The order was reportedly passed by municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

What does the ban means for meat eaters? 
Restaurants, which usually stock meat, will continue to serve non-vegetarian food. But butcher shops and supermarkets will not be allowed to sell meat; and many will be closed during the four days. However it’s best to call your local shop. We spoke to a couple that said that while they will not sell meat at their shops, they will home deliver. Fish and eggs, however, will be available for purchase.

Update: The four-day ban on the slaughter of animals and sale of meat imposed by the BMC was reduced to two days. Abattoirs and meat shops remained closed on Thursday, September 10, the first day of the ban and were to be shut on Thursday, September 17. However on Monday, September 14, the Bombay High Court stayed the ban on the sale of meat on Thursday, September 17. The Deonar abattoir will be shut that day but shops can sell meat.

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