The Maharashtra government told the Bombay high court on Friday a ban on slaughter and sale of meat, initially planned for four days, had been reduced to two days amid wrangling over the move taken in view of the Jain fasting period ‘Paryushan’, television channels reported.
The ban had sparked outrage among meat-eaters already upset by a permanent beef ban imposed this year. Hundreds of political activists on Thursday protested the four-day meat ban, even as the Bombay high court said it was not feasible to stop the sale of meat.
The ban opponents also created the Twitter hashtag #banistan, which trended along with #meatban, urging people to “eat and let eat”. The Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena government banned beef sale in the state in April this year.
Members of the Jain community will observe a religious fast for eight days from Friday. Officials said they demanded the ban as their religion prescribes non-violence to all living beings.
The ban in Mumbai was planned for four non-consecutive days between September 11 and September 18. It covered the slaughter of buffaloes, goats and hogs, but excluded fish and poultry.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena led the protests in Dadar, the hub of the meat-loving Maharashtrian community by selling the banned items on Thursday — the start of the eight-day-long Jain holy festival of Paryushan which devouts observe through religious austerity/fasting and forgiveness.
A similar measure has also been quietly enforced in Rajasthan. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, meanwhile, reiterated on thursday an over 150-year-old ban on beef in the state.
Critics say tougher anti-beef laws discriminate against Muslims, Christians and lower-caste Hindus who rely on the cheap meat for protein. Butchers and cattle traders, many of them Muslim, say the push threatens thousands of jobs.
(With agency inputs)