Calling out the ‘ambiguous’ guidelines by the Maharashtra government on the occasion of Bakra Eid, several Congress Muslim leaders are now reportedly up in arms against the ‘symbolic’ sacrifice of animals, as recommended by the government. Bakra Eid which is scheduled to be celebrated on August 1.
Reportedly, former minister Arif Naseem Khan has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray asking him to call an urgent meeting of ministers, present and ex MLAs to review the guidelines issued on the occasion of Bakra Eid. According to Khan, the Qurbani or the sacrifice of goats cannot be done symbolically. He also stated that buying goats online and keeping livestock market closed was impractical. Khan opined that goats could only be bought after inspecting their size and health conditions and that such a thing could not be done while procuring animals online. “The government must issue fresh guidelines as president guidelines interfere in the religious affairs of Muslims,” he was quoted as saying.
Congress MLA Amin Patel stated that the symbolic sacrifice of goats was ‘unacceptable’ in Islam. He clarified that even though he was in favour of social distancing and praying at home amidst the pandemic, yet asking Muslims to sacrifice goats symbolically was a bit of overstretch. Patel said, “I am observing social distancing, not crowding, praying at home on Bakra Eid to prevent the spread of the pandemic, but Muslims cannot be asked to do Qurbani symbolically.”
Muslims leaders seek intervention of Sharad Pawar
Reportedly, several Muslim leaders had sought the intervention of NCP supremo Sharad Pawar. Samajwadi Party MLA Rais Shaikh informed that Muslim leaders have been trying to get an appointment with Sharad Pawar to explain the problems faced by Muslims while observing Bakra Eid. He also held the symbolic Qurbani and the idea behind the purchase of goats online as impractical. He asked, “If Ganapathi celebrations cannot be done symbolically, then how can Muslims be asked to celebrate Bakrid symbolically.”
Bizarre rationale to legitimise slaughter of cattle on Bakra Eid
Gulzar Azmi, Jamiatul Ulema leader, made a bizarre suggestion to the Maharashtra government to allow the slaughter of cattle. According to him, 7 people can feast on one cattle such as buffalo while an entire goat or sheep is just enough for one person. He added that the slaughter of cattle will reduce the burden on civic authorities as several people can fulfil the obligation of Qurbani while feeding a number of others.
Maharashtra government tells Muslims to not demand repeal of existing norms
In a video conference, Thackeray said, “ The coming celebration for Bakra Eid should also be celebrated simply and in a symbolic manner while following the protocols.” He had clarified that no insistence should be made to change the existing provisions for the festival and demands to open the livestock market for purchasing goods should not be made. However, BMC is expected to set up livestock markets across Mumbai to ‘prevent’ overcrowding and contain the spread of the pandemic.
Reportedly, demands have been made to set up temporary slaughter places to conduct ritualistic slaughter as the current law states that it can only happen in permitted abattoirs. The said press conference was attended by public representatives including MLAs from the Muslim community and Cabinet ministers such as Ajit Pawar, Anil Deshmukh, and Nawab Malik.
No Namaaz in Masjid on Bakra Eid
Amidst the rising number of Coronavirus cases in the State of Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena-led-government had earlier directed that prayers for Bakri Eid must be confined to home. The government has made it clear that prayers should not be offered in Eidgah or other public places. The state govt has also asked Muslims to celebrate the event in a simple manner. “Bakri Eid should be celebrated in a simple manner this year given the COVID-19 outbreak,” an official statement issued by home minister Anil Deshmukh said.