The Mumbai High Court has held that city residents are entitled to sacrifice goats within their building premises and housing societies on the occasion of Bakrid, subject to terms and conditions laid down in the licences obtained by them from local authorities.
A bench of Justices S J Kathawala and S C Gupte observed this yesterday while rejecting the plea of two residents of a cooperative housing society in South Mumbai who opposed the slaughter of goats in the building premises by their three Muslim neighbours, as it is unhygienic and should not be allowed when there are slaughter houses in the city.
The judges said they would not be able to restrain authorities to stop issuing licences for slaughtering animals on Bakrid as people have a right to practice their religion, but such acts would be subject to rules and conditions mentioned in the licences.
Today goat, tomorrow cattle?
In this Storify from Oct 2014, Abhinav Aggarwal had analyzed a petition filed by 11 Muslims who had sought orders to allow the sacrifice of animals bigger than goats in housing societies and temporary slaughterhouses in the city. The Mumbai HC had rejected the petition ruling ‘No cattle sacrifice in housing societies for now.‘
He had questioned why this attempt to legalize public brutality and expose young children to the sights of animals throats being slit, blood flowing all around, was not met with horror and outright condemnation. He had rightly warned that any legal precedent that permits the slaughter of animals in housing societies will drive a schism between communities and eventually end up driving away all non-Muslims from such societies.
Those fears seem to be coming true as yesterday’s Quint article ‘Don’t Slaughter Goats Inside My Housing Society! ‘ shows. There, Antonette Pinto, a resident of a Kurla, Mumbai housing society describes the horror and helplessness she felt when her Muslim neighbours slaughtered over 200 goats on Eid al-Adha within the society. She says that police refused to intervene and media showed little interest as ‘a story of this nature might create unnecessary religious tension.’ This is what she had to experience –
“One after another reluctant goats were dragged inside the tent and the screaming continued. In fact, I can hear them as I write this piece. Children of non-Muslims families haven’t dared to step out of their homes all day. A part of the tent is open, so one can see blood and flesh from all the slaughtering. But the worst part is the horrible smell emanating from this make-shift slaughterhouse.”
With the legal precedent set by Monday’s HC judgement, we should all brace up for a similar experience and one can expect even cattle/camel slaughter within housing societies to become a reality soon.
Lesser rights for Hindus to practice their religion?
It is pertinent to note that both Mumbai HC and Supreme Court had struck a rather different note on Dahi Handi – they even rejected the Maharashtra State Government request to increase the Dahi Handi human pyramid height to 25 feet from 20 feet, with SC Justice Dave questioning the need for Dahi Handi, “Are you getting an Olympic medal also for this?”
Earlier, when the rural Tamil tradition of Jallikattu (a bull control sport) was unjustly banned on grounds of cruelty to animals, overlooking the fact that the Jallikattu bull is almost never hurt leave alone killed, the SC bench had asked “What is the necessity of such a festival like Jallikattu?” This tweets sums up the clear judicial double standards and muddled thinking –
Where is the Animal Rights brigade?
If Jallikattu constitutes cruelty to animals, then one wonders how the ritual slaughter by halal method (slitting the conscious animal’s throat) is permitted? A huge debate is raging in the West on whether ritual slaughter without pre-stunning the animal so that it loses consciousness is humane or not.
In 2011, Australia banned export of live cattle to Indonesia after a documentary showing barbaric ritual slaughter in Indonesia was released – that documentary mirrors the way cattle in Bharat are slaughtered. Will our AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India), PETA and other animal rights activists who were hyperactive over Jallikattu take notice?
Hindu festivals & traditions are routinely questioned for their ecological impact – such as water pollution during Ganpati immersion – and this has led to significant self-correction within Hindu society in the form of eco-friendly Ganesh murtis, artificial immersion tanks etc. But the concept of public ritual slaughter which is deeply embedded in Muslim psyche is hardly questioned?
Why are our secular-liberal elite brave-hearts not supporting someone like an Irrfan Khan who says ‘Slaughtering of ‘bakra’ does not mean Qurbani’? Will they speak up now that their private space is invaded and posh South Mumbai & Lutyen’s Delhi societies witness the sight of a freshly slaughtered ‘bakra’? Because beneath the political messages like ‘Eid strengthens bonds of unity and peace in our nation’, this picture from Dhaka reflects the reality far better: