MUMBAI:Politics over the ban on sale of meat in the city for four days during the Jain fasting period of ‘Paryushan’ peaked Thursday with the Shiv Sena and its rival Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) taking potshots at the community.
An editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, said the Jain community’s stance on non-violence came as a surprise as they had supported violence during the 1993 riots in the city. It also warned them not to provoke Maharashtra in the name of Paryushan. “Until now, only fanatic Muslims used to bully people in the name of religion. If the Jains too are going on the path of Muslims, then God save them. During the 1992-93 Mumbai riots, Marathi Shiv Sainiks had protected Jains, who were saved because violence had been answered by violence. At that time too, Paryushan was on. But Jains were at the forefront of supporting violence then,” it claimed. The editorial argued that Brahmins in Maharashtra, Patels in Gujarat and a large section of people in MP and Rajasthan, who are vegetarians, had never demanded a ban on sale of meat. It sarcastically asked whether Jain builders in the city will not accept black money during Paryushan.
Not one to lag behind, MNS chief Raj Thackeray blamed BJP president Amit Shah for the ban. “The BJP government says the ban has been imposed by the previous government and they are only following the tradition. If it is so, why have the people voted them to power? Jains can’t decide what is suitable to Maharashtra,” he said.
Thackeray asserted that people should eat non-vegetarian food during this period. “My party workers will protect the vendors of non-vegetarian food,” he declared. The Shiv Sena and MNS put up stalls of non-vegetarian food in Dadar and distributed around 200 kg of fish to the people free of cost. The hue and cry over the ban began after the Shiv Sena-BJP-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation prohibited meat sale for eight days from September 11 to 18 when the Jain community observes its fasting period. The ban during Paryushan in the state has been in vogue since 1963. Organisations of Jains condemned the Shiv Sena and MNS for their protests. “I wonder whether it is the country of Mahatma Gandhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Meat was banned during Paryushan in the Mughal rule too,” said Lalit Gandhi, national president of All India Jain Minority Cell.
Meanwhile, the Bombay High Court sought response of the state government and the civic body on a plea against the meat sale ban. It observed that the ban was not feasible in a metropolitan city like Mumbai.