Controversial Mumbai meat ban reduced after protests

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A temporary meat ban in India’s financial capital of Mumbai was Friday reduced from four days to two days after people and political parties took to the streets in protest.

The ban was intended to respect the vegetarian Jain community while it fasts for Paryushana, an eight-day festival of forgiveness.

The ban on the sale of mutton, chicken and pork was to be imposed on four non-consecutive days between September 11-18. The ban will now be enforced for a second day only on September 17.

Mumbai’s municipal corporation voted in favour of reducing the ban, meat traders who had challenged the ban told reporters outside the Bombay High Court.

Angry traders accused the governing Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which extended the ban from two days in previous years to four, of infringing on their right to a livelihood.

The move also sparked outrage among Mumbai’s residents, already upset by a permanent beef ban imposed by authorities earlier this year.

Many residents in the city of 18 million people went online to vent their anger, saying the ban violates their freedom to choose what to eat.

The BJP’s coalition partner, the right-wing Shiv Sena party, also opposed the extended ban.

Meanwhile, a similar measure has been enforced in the BJP-ruled states of Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. In northern Jammu and Kashmir, the high court asked authorities to enforce a colonial-era law banning the sale of beef, which also sparked protests.

State officials said they plan to challenge the ruling in a higher court.

India’s majority Hindus consider the cow an object of worship.

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