After dahi handi, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) is now focusing on Paryushan (the fasting period for the Jain community), during which mutton and chicken shops in the city are closed for two days.
The MNS on Monday forcibly opened these shops saying the Jain community was being appeased at the cost of Maharashtrians. The state and civic authorities have announced closure of abattoir as well as meat shops on August 29 and September 5 on the occasion of Paryushan.
“Why should we be deprived of our food just because Jains are fasting ,” asked MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande. ”We forcibly opened all mutton and chicken shops in Dadar market to send out a message that we will not be cowed down by such pressure tactics,” said Deshpande.
Paryushan is a holy period for Jains, during which they fast and seek forgiveness for their sins. The state government has been keeping abattoirs shut for four days to respect their sentiments.
However, last year, the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation imposed an unprecedented eight-day ban on sale of meat, which evoked criticism from the Shiv Sena, MNS and other political parties. Following this, the ban in the city was reduced to two days. This year, the BJP has demanded eight-day meat ban in Mumbai for four days each on the occasion of Paryushan and Ganesh Festival.
On Sunday, MNS chief Raj Thackeray criticized the move and even targeted the Jain community. “First they construct buildings, have a Jain mandir, deny houses to other communities and drive them away. The aim is to reduce the number of Maharashtrians and then get into the Assembly and frame laws to suit them,” said Thackeray.
Jains have condemned the tactics adopted by the MNS. “They need to respect the law. The government, too, supports them covertly, which is unfortunate,” said a businessman from the community, who refused to come on record. The ruling BJP has not reacted on the MNS stand so far.