Mumbai: Some political parties of oppostion benches and little known Muslim organisations might be knocking on the doors of the BJP government in Maharashtra seeking relaxation in beef ban during Eid al Adha, however Muslim masses by and large have little interest in the matter.
Contrary to what some might have believed, majority of Muslims don't want any relaxation and instead opine that any temporary lifting of the ban during their annual festival will be projected as a 'favour' by the state that they don't want to enjoy at any cost.
"The constitution of the country gives an individual right to practice religion of his or her choice. But, the way this government is functioning clearly shows that it does not have slightest honour of the constitution. What's use of demanding any kind of temporary relief from such a government", Arif Sajjad, an activist said.
Echoing similar feelings, Qurban Ali, a trader, said like freedom to practice religion of choice the constitution also gives right to eat food of one's own choice and taste.
"The government's ban on beef is unconstitutional. If the government is not revoking its decision permanently, temporary relaxation will be of no use", he said.
Last few weeks have seen some leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) running signature campaign demanding relaxation in the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act (MAPA) 1995 for three days during Eid al Adha - the annual Muslim festival when Muslims sacrifice animals in large numbers. The festival, which coincides with Hajj, is celebrated in the memory of Prophet Ibrahim.
Likewise, some little known Muslim outfits are also sending memoranda to the government with similar appeals. A petition has also been filed in the Bombay High Court where the matter is due for a hearing on September 21, just 3-4 days ahead of Eid al Adha.
Muslim masses while praising the legal efforts, feel that the politicians are using the issue for their political benefits rather than relief to the community.
"Traces of political interests can easily be seen in the activities of some of the political parties that are raising this demand ahead of Bakra Eid. There are other options and Muslims can easily explore those options for sacrificing animals", Lateef Ansari, a retired teacher, said.
Meanwhile, far from paying heed to the demands raised by the opposition parties, the BJP government has reportedly sent advisory to all district headquarters to strictly follow the law during Eid al Adha.
Soon after coming to power in 2014, the BJP government headed by Devendra Fadnavis sent to the president the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act (MAPA) 1995 19 years after the legislation was passed by the Maharashtra assembly by the then state government ruled by the Shiv Sena and BJP.
Under the amended act, the crime of slaughtering the animals covered under the ban will be non-bailable and the punishment will be five years in prison, upped from the earlier six months. The fine, too, has been hiked to Rs 10,000 from the current Rs 1,000.