Meat-free zone declared in India

The local government has put a complete ban on the sale of meat, eggs and the slaughter of animals within the town

INDONESIA

Kamis, 02 Okt 2014 16:15 WIB

Author

Shuriah Niazi

Meat-free zone declared in India

India, Jain, vegetarian, meat free zone, Shuriah Niazi

The Indian town of Palitana has been declared a meat-free zone. The local government has put a complete ban on the sale of meat, eggs and the slaughter of animals within the town’s limits.  The move comes after pressure from followers of the Jain religion—who have a number of holy temples in the town.

Jainism is one of the oldest religions in the world. It preaches a path of non-violence towards all living beings. As Jain monk Virat Sagar Maharaj explains.
 
“Whoever is present in this world, animals, humans or very small creatures, they have all being given the right to live by the God. So who we are to take away that right from them? This has been written in holy book of every religion and particularly in Jainism.”

Jainism has around 5 million followers in India. The mountainous town Palitana in the state of Gujaratis home to their holiest sites and they don’t want any killing taking place here.

Recently 200 Jain monks launched a hunger strike. They threatened to fast unto death until the town was declared a vegetarian zone. Jain believer Sadhar Sagar explains, “Meat is now easily available in this city it’s against the teaching of our religion. We have always wanted a complete ban on non-veg food in this holy site.”

And it appears as if they have won.  The state is ruled by the Hindu nationalist BJP party—that is also in power nationally.

On the 14th of August the Gujarat local government declared the city a ‘vegetarian zone’. The local government has put a complete ban on the sale of meat, eggs and the slaughter of animals within the town’s limits.

And now fishermen like Nishit Mehru have had to stop fishing.  “We have been stopped from selling anything in Palitana. They should not have taken this one sided decision. How will we survive if we are not allowed to sell fishes.The government should not make decisions under pressure.”

On behalf of the fisherman local Hindu resident Valjibhai Mithapura took the issue to the Gujarat high court.  The court has called on the state government to explain the ban and says it will then make a decision about whether the regulation is legal.

There around 65,000 people living in Palitana and 25 percent of them are Muslims.

Syed Jehangir Miyan is a local Muslim religious scholar.
   
“There are so many people living in this city and majority of them are non-vegetarian. Stopping them from eating non-vegetarian diet is a violation of their rights. We have been living in this city for decades. It is wrong to put a ban on the whole city now.”

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