Clear political overtones on the issue in MBMC house to win brownie points from Jain community ahead of Assembly polls

Bhayandar : The debate over fixing closure tenure on the sale of meat and slaughter houses during ‘Paryushan’ not only turned the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) house into political battlefield but also took an interesting ‘Jodha-Akbar’ twist on Saturday.

While government mandates closure of slaughterhouses during two days of ‘Paryushan’ the MBMC house received two call attention motions moved by Suresh Khandelwal (NCP) and Geeta Jain (BJP) seeking a ban during the 8-day long holy festival.

The Jain community has a sizeable presence in the region and clearly no party wants to take a chance in view of the upcoming Assembly polls.

Citing an Apex Court order in context to the Ahemdabad civic body, BJP’s Geeta Jain sought an 18-day ban respecting the sentiments of both sects of Jainism, Shwetambar and Digambar. Jain read out a portion of judicial order which stated that it is easy for people to abstain from non-veg food for a few days and even Emperor Akbar who had great respect for Jainism not only banned slaughtering animals during ‘Paryushan’ but himself refrained from non-veg food on certain days out of respect for his Hindu wife, Jodha. However, the ‘Anti Non-Vegetarian’ move triggered a heated debate when a section of NCP and Congress members voiced their concern over the effect of ban on the livelihood of those involved in business of selling meat.

“We respect the sentiments of Jain community and are not against the closure but it is also our duty to ensure that those affected by this decision are compensated,” said NCP leader Bernard D’mello.

In reply, opposition leader Narendra Mehta said, “Jain trusts are ready to compensate families earning their livelihood by selling meat. I am also ready to hand over my entire civic honorarium for the cause.”

“The State government guidelines imply a two-day ban. However, civic administration will appeal traders for an eight-day voluntarily closure,” said Mayor Catlyn Pereira.

Registering his protest against certain religious outfits turning into law-enforcing bodies to forcefully shut down meat shops, Congressman Farid Qureshi said, “This is nothing but a selfish move to flare-up religious sentiments of peace loving populace in the twin-city.”

Ironically, Shiv Sena chose to remain mute spectators on the issue.

 Suresh Golani

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