Chandigarh: Haryana has become the fifth BJP-ruled state in the country to enforce a meat ban that has generated much controversy.
In its order issued on September 10, a copy of which NDTV has accessed, the municipal council of Fatehabad district has asked all slaughter houses to remain shut from September 11-19 in view of the Jain festival of fasting, Paryushan. Similar orders have been issued in other districts.
"This is the first time that such a ban order has been issued. It is ironical why no such order is issued during Navratri," said Salim, a spokesperson for a Meat Market Association in Fatehabad.
As criticism mounted, the government's Urban Local Bodies department was quick to clarify that the order was of an advisory nature and was not binding. A stark contrast to the order that warns of legal action if the directive is not complied with.
Interestingly, the minister heading the department belongs to the Jain community.
On Friday, Chhattisgarh banned the slaughter and sale of meat till September 17. In Mumbai, a similar ban - challenged by mutton traders and opposed by many parties - was cut short from four to two days by the city's civic body.
Maharashtra's ruling BJP wanted the four-day ban to be extended to eight, but the idea met with stiff resistance not just from the opposition but also the party's ally Shiv Sena. The Bombay High Court said the ban was "regressive".
A meat ban has also been enforced in Rajasthan and Gujarat, both ruled by the BJP.
The Rajasthan government has prohibited the sale of meat and fish on September 17, 18 and 27 on account of various festivals, including that of the Jains.
The ban has been enforced since 2008 in the state, both by the Ashok Gehlot and Vasundhara Raje governments, but this year, it has been extended by one day, which has angered some groups.
In Gujarat's Ahmedabad, Police Commissioner Shivanand Jha has ordered a ban on the slaughter of cattle like cows and goats for a week during the Jain fasting period. The state enforces the ban every year.