THE coming to power of Modi government at centre has given license to RSS parivar outfits to indulgence in intolerance in all fields of social life in isolation. In Maharashtra the BJP majority Government announced ban on the storing, selling and eating of beef few months ago. It increased the problems for large section of society, the workers in abettor, those consuming beef and those selling beef. Then came the order that any criticism of Government servants will be treated as sedition. This is an attempt to put a total cap on the basic democratic rights, on freedom of expression and on the right to dissent. The state witnessed murder of two of its foremost rationalist thinkers and leaders, Dr. Narendra Dabholkar and Comrade Govind Pansare for promoting scientific temper against superstition and sectarian thinking. In the neighboring Karnataka the ex-Vice Chancellor of Kannada University, Hamphi, Kulburgi was done to death on 30th August this year.
Then came decision of Mira Bhaynder Municipal Corporation to ban the non vegetarian food, except fish and eggs, during Paryushan, a Jain festival, for eight days. This ban was put for four days in Mumbai area under Mumbai Corporation. Earlier during Paryushan the ban was for one day in 1960s, two days in 1990s, now it is four days in Mumbai and eight days in Mira Road-Bhayander area. Interestingly fishes and eggs, which Jains don’t consume, have been spared from the wrath of the religious zealots who think imposing their sentiments on others is part of one’s religion. Will there be such a demand for prohibiting garlic and root vegetable, which are also prohibited by Jain practices, next? Country has become victim of food fundamentalism of dominant forces. This stifling attitude is a retrograde step, putting chains on democratic freedoms. This is a regressive march that calls for stiff resistance from all secular and democratic forces.
When this question came before the Supreme Court, saying that it cannot force meat ban, Justice T S Thakur said: “compassion is not something that should be reserved only for festival periods. The poet Kabir said: “why do you peak in to the homes of those who use meat? Let them do what they do, but why are you so bothered about them, brother?”.... There should be an amount of tolerance and sensitivity in other communities also".