Unhappy with the Maharashtra government's guidelines for Bakri Eid celebrations, now less than a week away, a section of Congress leaders have urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to review the rules for the Islamic festival.
Congress leader Naseem Khan, whose party rules in the state in coalition with Mr Thackeray's Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party, has written to the Chief Minister to call an urgent meeting of ministers to review the guidelines.
According to the Standard Operating Procedures released by the government last Friday, online buying and selling of sacrificial goats as well as symbolic celebration of Bakri Eid, also known as Eid al-Adha, is being encouraged.
But Mr Khan said there cannot be any symbolic celebration for the festival, set to be observed around the world on Friday, and buying goats online is not possible.
"We want the government to rethink and call for an urgent meeting. This has hurt sentiments," the Congress leader said.
Normally, the Deonar market in Mumbai is the biggest hub where goats are bought or sold. But since the outbreak of the coronavirus and the nationwide lockdown, the market has been closed.
While the government has asked people to buy and sell goats online, many are left confused as the guidelines don't clearly mention any online portal that they can use. Many buyers are not technology savvy enough to carry out such transactions either.
"Government says we have to buy goats online but there isn't any portal mentioned anywhere. Guidelines are confusing. They should clear it," a Mumbai resident Zameer Shaikh said.
Meanwhile, a drastic drop in supply and the closure of the Deonar abattoir has spiked prices of goats for slaughter in the city, news agency PTI reported. This, at a time when sellers in other parts of the country have complained that they are not able to find buyers for their goats.
The price of goats in Mumbai has increased from around Rs 20,000 earlier to Rs 30,000 now, making it out of reach for several families who want to carry out the traditional sacrifice during the festival, it said.
With animal markets closed due to the pandemic, sellers have set up makeshifts stalls in Muslim-dominated areas, and the extra effort on their part to operate the business is resulting in exorbitant prices being demanded, a social activist told PTI.
(With inputs from PTI)