Muslims across the state are apprehensive of religious slaughter ahead of Id-Ul-Adha because of the present scenario involving the curb on the killing of cows that the BJP-Shiv Sena government imposed in 2015.
Id-ul-Adha involves sacrificing an animal as part of the religious rites.
People observing the festival have said that even permissible slaughter of animals and transportation has been targeted by self-proclaimed gau-rakshaks (cow protectors) in the recent past and that was a cause of major concern for them. The fear is also apparent in the state after the government conducted a special drive to recruit animal welfare officials to monitor the beef ban.
In May, the animal husbandry department called in for animal welfare officials to ensure the implementation of the ban. While the department received more than 2,000 applications, a high court-appointed committee to monitor animal welfare laws cancelled all the applications last month. Justice CS Dharmadhikari, retired HC Judge, who heads the 12-member committee, confirmed that the drive had been scrapped.
Before the drive, the state had 134 “animal lovers” who registered themselves as animal welfare officers who were to inform the police about any atrocity on animals. An official from the animal husbandry department said, “The intention for getting more officers backfired as the applications were from people affiliated to political organisations. While the officers have no right to conduct raids, they do act as informers to help the state keep a check on animal atrocities. As far as Id is concerned, the department has not issued any special orders apart from routine maintenance and check on all slaughterhouses in the state.”
To add to this, recent events in the country have aggravated the fear of facing trouble from “fringe elements”.
In Uttar Pradesh last year, a man was allegedly killed by a mob for storing and consuming beef. In Gujarat, four Dalit youths were beaten up for allegedly possessing beef. Haryana is recently facing ‘biryani policing’ after the police allegedly found samples of beef in biryani at a place in Mewat district.
Political groups in Maharashtra have said that there is an increasing fear among Muslims ahead of the festival.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) has also written to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to be “more vigilant” of any “untoward or manufactured incident” in Mumbai and the state.
In his letter, SP MLA Abu Azmi has written about unmanned bulls, cows and oxen in the Shivaji Nagar-Mankhurd areas (dominant Muslim pockets in the city). “It is important to round off these stray cattle to prevent any untoward or manufactured incident in the state,” Azmi wrote in his letter.
Id will be celebrated on September 13,14 and 15. With September 15 also marking the final day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the party said it is important to “maintain law and order.”
According to SP, around 3 lakh goats and close to 5,000 buffalos are expected to be slaughtered in Mumbai.
The party has stated that self-proclaimed “gau-rakshaks” or cow-vigilantes are targeting even permissible trading of animals, creating a fear in the minds of Muslims. In 2015, the BJP-Shiv Sena ruled government brought in an amendment to the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act, which bans the slaughter of bulls and bullocks in the state.
Precautionary measures in Mumbai:
•As per a notice issued by the BMC, some of the steps to be adopted in Deonar Abattoir are:
•Humane treatment of animals while transportation and religious slaughter
•Using curtains while performing the slaughter
•Covering carcasses of large animals and carrying them in closed vehicles
•96 CCTV cameras
•3 digital indicators
•50 mobile toilets
•4 helpline numbers
According to SP, around 3 lakh goats and close to 5,000 buffalos are expected to be slaughtered in Mumbai
In May, the animal husbandry department had called for applications for animal welfare officials for effective implementation of the beef ban imposed in 2015.
The department received over 2,000 applications, officials confirmed. The state currently has 134 animal lovers enlisted as welfare officials.
However, the applications were soon scrapped owing to their political affiliations. They were sent back by the high court-appointed committee to monitor animal welfare laws. The decision to call for more applications is still pending with the 12-member committee.