Muslim groups have demanded a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol across Rajasthan from September 25 to 27 on the occasion of Eid, much in line with the curb on meat during Jain festivals.
The demand for three dry days comes close on the heels of the BJP government’s announcement of a meat ban on September 27 on the occasion of Anant Chaturdashi, celebrated both by Hindus and Jains.
Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Chhattisgarh have either partially or completely banned the sale of meat and slaughter of cattle ostensibly to respect Hindu and Jain festivals, prompting minority groups and activists to dub such moves a blow to individual freedom.
Amid the raging debate, Muslim representatives of the Social Democratic Party of India have asked Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje to impose strict prohibition on alcohol during Eid.
“Since it is the right of every religion in India to celebrate their festivals in accordance with their culture, meat is strictly banned during festivals of other religions. Muslims are also part of this country and have the right to celebrate their festivals in accordance with their traditions. So, we demand a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol on Eid for three days,” said Sikandar Ali, the party’s Jaipur district president.
In August, the state’s directorate of local bodies had ordered closure of alcohol vends along with meat and fish shops on September 17, 18 and 27. But a revised order dropped the alcohol ban since it came under jurisdiction of the excise department.
“There is equal treatment for all religions. If religious sentiments of one religion are kept in mind, similar treatment should be meted to others. We welcome the dry day demand,” Jamat-e-Islami-Hind media secretary Iqbal Siddiqui said.
Alcohol should be banned forever, Siddiqui said, announcing that a campaign for total prohibition will start from October 2 under banner of Lok Sangharsh Morcha.