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Is Muslim Rashtriya Manch's suggestion of banning goat sacrifice targeted at Islamic rituals?
Ahead of Bakr-e-Eid on September 2, 2017, a new controversy has emerged on animal sacrifice especially on goat sacrifice. Various Muslim groups including India's largest Muslim organisation 'Jamat Ulema-e-Hind' issued many guidelines in various newspapers on animal sacrifice. Almost all Muslim organisations have advised not to sacrifice the 'white animal' indirectly referring to cow. Many other groups have also asked not to sacrifice camels.

However, the RSS backed 'Muslim Rashtriya Manch' went a step further in questioning the very practice of sacrifice (qurbani) arguing that sacrificing a goat is as bad as triple talaq. There are some other clerics who have said that sacrifice is only mandatory in Haj. Thus, the debate is raging among Islamic clerics which is a good sign for NGOs and activists who campaign against cruelty to animals.

But then, many Islamic clerics and some politicians view MRM's suggestion against goat sacrifice as an agenda of the RSS. In TV debates they have claimed that Muslims are being targeted post BJP's huge win in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. My take on this politico-communal debate on animal sacrifice is explained below:

Goat sacrifice is not just a Muslim centric practice. In fact, in Hindu culture goat sacrifice is mandatory on many occasions (like Dussehra, Kalipuja and some Manasika (wish fulfilling)). Not only goats but poultry and even buffaloes are sacrificed in 'sakti pithas' (Goddess temples). The animals' rights activists have been objecting to such sacrifices since long and were even able to get orders from the Odisha HC to stop this tradition of animal sacrifice.

The two-judge bench of the Odisha High Court comprising of the then Chief Justice Gopal Gouda and Justice Indrajeet Mohanty not only banned animal sacrifice on October 6, 2010 but also directed the government of Odisha to ensure non-violation of the court's order. Since then, sacrificing animals including goats has been banned by the Odisha government. Although the tradition of sacrifice still continues secretly but the animals' rights crusaders keep a vigil on such sacrifices and every year just before Dussehra festival knock on the door of the HC to get notices issued to the government of Odisha so that sacrifices are stopped.

Now, is there anyone complaining that Hindu traditions are being targeted? Isn't HC's order applicable to all irrespective of religion? Then what's the intent of these Islamic clerics to colour the anti-sacrifice debate in to a politico-religious issue? By doing so, don't these clerics indirectly want to present their religion as more superior than other religions, especially Hinduism? Aren't they sowing the seeds of hatred in communalising a debate?

Odisha HC's order was welcomed by a majority of Hindus as they realised that such traditions should be stopped. So, why this issue shouldn't be discussed and debated in the Muslim community too? If the debate has started it should be addressed in a logical way, not deflecting it towards communalism.

However, I have some disagreements with the Odisha HC's order. My point is that all types of animal slaughter should be banned. Just targeting religious traditions of sacrifice and allowing animal slaughter for food consumption doesn't serve the purpose of saving animals from cruelty. However, this point is limited to debate only and not at all meant for communalising the issue.

Unfortunately, the present political class and some religious heads (from all religions) are still trying to polarise people for petty vested interests. The media channels should also stop conducting such debates where communalism-based politics is pushed.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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