Mumbai: Months after a controversial beef ban in Maharashtra, a move to prohibit meat for four days in Mumbai has provoked anger, with comments on social media calling it a breach of the freedom to choose.
The ban was introduced in 1994 by the then Congress government, for the Jain festival of fasting. Ten years later, the two-day ban was extended to four days, but according to officials, never properly implemented.
An order passed yesterday by the city's civic body, ruled by the Shiv Sena-BJP coalition, makes it clear that this year, the sale and slaughter of meat will be banned on four days, beginning Friday.
Spurred by outrage, #meatban has been among top trends on social media.
Not about meat being unavailable in some parts of Mumbai, it's about individual choices & forcing your religion/practices on others #meatban- Ruchica Tomar (@ruchicatomar) September 8, 2015
Even the BJP's ally Shiv Sena, which has a majority in the civic body, says the ban is insupportable and alleges a political move to appease the Jain community in Mumbai, which goes to polls in 2017.
"I think this is another kind of violence in the name of non-violence. It is one's own choice to have what they want To use it for political reason is not right and we condemn it," said Sena spokesperson Neelam Gore.
On this, the Sena finds itself on the same side as the opposition Congress, which, ironically, introduced the ban. "Is it for the government to decide what I eat, what I drink, what I wear, where I sleep, when I speak? What you are seeing across the country is the creeping spectre of fascism," Congress leader Manish Tewari said.
BJP's Shaina NC responded that "this is about respecting religious sentiment."
For now, Mumbai faces a four-day ban. But in the district Thane on its outskirts, a BJP-led civic body has enforced an eight-day ban.
Here too, the Shiv Sena had dissented. It has served notice to four of its corporators for missing the vote that cleared the ban.
After coming to power in the state last year, the BJP-led government banned the slaughter, sale and import of beef.