The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has informed the Bombay high court on Tuesday that they are permitting the sacrifice of 900 animals at the Deonar abattoir on the occasion of Bakri Eid which is scheduled to be held from July 21 to July 23.
BMC counsel Anil Sakhare informed the HC that they have issued a circular on July 19 stating that people will be able to sacrifice 300 animals per day between 6 am and 6 pm during the three days of Bakri Eid at the Deonar abattoir. However, strict Covid-19 protocols will have to be followed by those who come for sacrifice inside the abattoir.
A division bench of Chief justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni, disposed of the petition filed by All India Jamiatul Quresh in view of the BMC circular.
The judges, however, refused to entertain the petitioner’s prayer to increase the number of “Qurbani” that can be made at Deonar, from 300 animals per day to 700 animals per day. “We are afraid, that is entirely the decision of the executive domain and the judiciary cannot grant the relief,” observed the HC.
AA Siddiqui, the advocate for the petitioner, sought that the number of animals that can be sacrificed should be increased since many small traders and farmers had bought the animals and were not granted permission to sacrifice inside the Deonar abattoir.
Sakhare argued that 6-7 people accompany each animal for the sacrifice. Also, regular animals are also slaughtered at the Deonar abattoir. “During Qurbani period there is overcrowding. Because of the pandemic, we are not allowing more people inside the abattoir,” said Sakhare.
In view of the beginning of the festival season, Sakhare said that they are taking necessary precautions to prevent over-crowding. “Festival season is starting, whether of Muslims or Hindus. Now Ganpati and Navratri will also be there. We have to control the crowds. Third-wave (of Covid-19) shouldn’t come,” argued Sakhare.
Agreeing with the BMC counsel, the Chief justice remarked that in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, everyone needs to follow protocols and maintain social distancing. “Let us pray for better times next year,” said Chief Justice.
The PIL was filed by All India Jamiatul Quresh, a registered organisation, through its Vice President Imran Babu Qureshi seeking that the people should be allowed to sacrifice water buffaloes at Deonar Abattoir in Govandi on the occasion of Bakri Eid.
On July 2, a notification was issued by the Principal Secretary, state ministry of Home Affairs, permitting online / telephone purchase of all type of cattle for the purpose of sacrifice. However, the notification did not specify any place where the sacrifices could be done.