Meat ban is raising questions in Rajasthan too, a state which has a Jain population of about 6.22 lakh according to 2011 census data.
Rajasthan has ordered a three-day ban on the sale of meat during the Jain festival this year, but it is not the first time in the state.The state’s directorate of local bodies issued the order on Sept 9, stating that slaughter houses would be kept closed on Sept 17-18, on the occasion of Paryushan celebrated by Swetambar Jains and Sept 27 for Anant Chaturdashi, celebrated by Digamber Jains.
For Jains, the ban is good news and they want to celebrate it as ahimsa parv. For Digamber Jains, the day of Anant Chaturdashi is most pious and auspicious, and most spend it entirely at the Jain temples. So closure of the slaughter houses has come as a manna for them.
Vinod Jain, a leader of Digamber Jain community says that even in the Mughal period during Emperor Aurangzeb’s time, there was a ban on slaughter houses on Anant Chaturdashi.
But some Muslim organisations say the government should give compensation to the butchers for the days of closure. They voice it as a case of livelihood for many. If shops remain closed for two to three days, how will they survive in the days of escalating prices, they ask. They also say why shouldn’t the ban be implemented on liquor as well as liquor is much more dangerous than consuming meat.
But this ban is not the first time in Rajasthan. In 2008, the Jain Sanskriti Raksha Samiti (JSRS), had approached Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who had issued a nine-day ban then and called it as ahimsa parv.
Milap Chand Dandai, the president, JSRS says the ban was not continuous. There were breaks in between as first the Swetamber Jains have nine days of Paryushan and then Digambar Jains have their 10 Lakshan. So it was four days for each sect and then one common day.
Next year, in 2009, when the Congress, government was in power, another Jain group had approached the then Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, who initially had permitted 19 days ban. But after the butchers and vendors approached the government protesting the move, the ban was reduced to four days.
Dandia says this time the ban on meat has come on its own from the government side, without intervention by any group.