Maharashtra Bakrid Row: Muslim Leaders Oppose Restrictions, State Government defends It
Pramod Chunchuwar | India Tomorrow
MUMBAI, JULY 28—The issue of celebration of Eid-ul-Azha has become hot now in Maharashtra as Congress, AIMIM leaders are opposing the restrictions put up by the Maharashtra government on celebration of the festival of sacrifice called ‘Bakrid’ in the local parlance.
Muslim leaders and community members are demanding to allow them to celebrate Bakrid by following social distancing norms.
“As per the explanation of Muslim religious leaders, the Qurbani cannot be done on symbolic basis. The Muslim religion does not have concept of symbolic worship. Therefore, we are requesting the Maharashtra government to allow Muslims to celebrate Bakrid with social distance,” Mohammad Arif Nasim Khan, senior Congress leader and former Minority Welfare Minister, said.
“ For Muslims, Eid-ul-Fitr, also called Ramzan Eid and Bakrid are only two important festivals. Due to lockdown, we celebrated Ramzan, four months before, at our home only. We followed all government directives in this connection and strictly stayed at home. Now, if you go to vegetable market of Aurangabad, you can see at least 2,000 people there and flouting social distancing norms. Then why can’t the government allow celebration of Bakrid with social distancing norms? If marriage ceremony is allowed with presence of 50 people, then why 50 persons cannot be allowed to assemble at a Masjid for Bakrid?,” asks Aurangabad Lok Sabha Member and AIMIM leader Imtiyaz Jalil.
“While I am meeting people daily and visiting various places, my brother who is staying home since lockdown, has now become corona positive. The government is imposing lockdown to hide its own failure to create health infrastructure,” Jalil stressed.
“ If government is really committed to lockdown, then why Ram Temple ground breaking ceremony is taking place with presence of many VIPs. At least 10,000 police personnel need to be deployed for their protection in Ayodhya. Who will take responsibility that corona will not spread due to this function? Why then not postpone the Ram Temple ceremony? Why only Muslims are being asked to stay at home and celebrate their functions?” Jalil asked.
He also strongly advocated allowing Ganesh festival with social distancing norms.
“This festival is not only an issue of faith but also provides employment and income to many people,” he stated.
“While BJP leaders are opposing allowing Bakrid with social distancing, they themselves flouted all social distancing norms while protesting against Maha Vikas Aaghadi government. This indicates how BJP is doing politics on this issue,” Nasim Khan said.
Countering Muslim leaders, Shiv Sena leader and Member of Lok Sabha Arvind Sawant defended state government’s restrictions on celebration of Bakrid.
“ If the most important Haj tour can be cancelled, then why Bakrid can not be observed at home? Even we are not allowing opening of any temple or churches,” he said.
Dalwai also stressed on permission
Former Rajya Sabha MP Hussain Dalwai, who is also Vice-President of Maharashtra Congress Party, also wrote a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray demanding allowing Bakrid celebrations. “The reason behind Qurbani is message of sacrifice. The mutton after this Qurbani is also distributed among poor and skin is donated to the educational institutes where poor students are studying. State government has objected direct purchase of goats and has asked to do Qurbani symbolically. We cannot do this symbolically. The four-month long lockdown has already hit Muslims badly. Therefore, all ca not offer such Qurbani. Therefore, at least those who can offer this Qurbani should be allowed to do so,” he said in his letter.
“It is true that Mumbai has only one livestock market that is Deonar market. There will be crowd if government allows to buy goats from there. But state government can think upon using closed markets (Mandai) to sell these goats and Qurbani can be done at isolated and covered places following social distancing norms strictly,” Dalwai suggested.
Farmers lost Crores
“The restrictions put on Bakrid are wrong. The whole year farmers and Dhangar community members plan to sell their goats, bullock, sheep at the time of Bakrid. If they sell their goats during normal days, they may get only Rs.10,000 but if they sell during Bakrid, they will get at least Rs.30,000. If we take Muslim population of Maharashtra into account, we can say that restrictions on sale of goats or sheeps in open market will result in a loss of at least Rs. 5000 to Rs. 10,000 crore to cattle-rearing community. This will also break the routine economic cycle on which many including farmers are dependent,” Salim Shaikh, president of Maharashtra unit of the Welfare Party of India stressed.
“There are so many problems in online purchase of goats or sheep. As per Muslim religion, the animal chosen for Qurbani should be of at least one year. The animal should not be underweight, should not have any deformity. How we can ascertain all these features online? Many buyers do not have online selling facilities. For a metro-city like Mumbai, government has only one abattoir at Deonar. For Eid, the government should allow to sell and cut animals at various places and this will help for crowd management,” the Welfare Party demanded.
No Ban on observance of Bakrid: Minister Mallick
Rejecting claims of Muslim leaders, the Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Mallick stated there is no ban on observance of Bakrid in Maharashtra.
“We have not banned observance of Bakrid. We have banned selling animals in markets(Mandi). We have allowed sale of animals online. Thousands of animals have been already sold on Whatsapp and other social media platforms. You judge animals by seeing their photos and people are doing this. With permission of your housing societies, you can do Qurbani at a safe place or nearby isolated places. The political leaders, who are now unemployed, are making noise and creating unnecessary controversy,” Mallick said.
“This the problem limited to Mumbai only. To check spread of corona, we banned selling of animals in markets,” Mallick said, defending the restrictions.