The BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh government on Friday announced a ban on the sale of meat across the state till September 18 in connection with the Jain festival Paryushan and Ganesh Chathurthi.
“The state government has issued a directive in this regard. We have issued instructions to completely ban the sale of meat including poultry and fish till September 18. It is being strictly complied with”, the Raipur Municipal Corporation (RMC) commissioner Dr Saransh Mittar told Hindustan Times.
All the meat shops and slaughter houses will remain closed during the said time period.
This is for the second consecutive year that Chhattisgarh has enforced a complete ban across the state for eight consecutive days.
Last time the number of days for the ban was cut down to two after some groups approached the high court.
The ban in Chhattisgarh comes at a time when similar measures in Mumbai and Rajasthan evoked widespread criticism, including from the BJP's ally Shiv Sena.
All civic bodies and municipalities across the state have been asked to abide by the state government’s orders. “The state government's decision is unjustified. Sale and consumption of meat is not illegal and they are not sold by hawkers but at earmarked places. We respect all religions. Those who have any issue against meat should avoid going through the place where it is sold”, president of Muslim body Seeratun-Nabi Committee Nauman Akram Hamid told HT.
The poultry association, mutton dealers and fisheries cooperatives are planning to challenge the government directive in court.
“What about those who earn their livelihood through the business of sale of mutton and fish on a daily basis. They are many who come from a poor economic background. What about their survival then”, said Abhishek Majhi of fisheries cooperative.
Opposing the ban, Congress spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said, “Such strict imposition on sale of meat is not fair. The decision should have been taken amicably through consensus in consultation with every community”.
Trivedi asked whether the state government will ask all KFC outlets in the state to down shutters for eight days.
In Rajasthan government, the state government has ordered ban on sale of meat and fish on September 17 (Paryushan), 18 (Sanvatsari - another Jain festival) and 27 (Anant Chaturdashi).
While the ruling BJP in Maharashtra has defended the ban imposed by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), the Sena as well as opposition MNS and Congress and the NCP have vehemently opposed it, alleging that the move was aimed at polarising voters and appease a section of society before the crucial MCGM polls in early 2017.
A similar ban has also been imposed by Mira-Bhayander and Navi Mumbai municipal corporations in Mumbai's adjoining Thane district.