Bakrid in Uttar Pradesh: Muslims divided on Yogi Adityanath's instructions disallowing animal sacrifice in open

For 10-year-old Rasheeda, Bakrid has been her favorite festival. But this year, she won’t be celebrating it, or at least will not be able to take part in the ‘qurbani’ merrily as her parents have no option but to send the goat bought for the sacrifice to the nearby masjid. “We have been told we can’t make the qurbani on the road (leading to our house). Our house has one room; we don’t even have a kitchen. How can we offer the sacrifice inside the house as we are being told?” said 54-year-old Khalid, a resident of Khadra near Lucknow, who saved money for an entire year to buy a goat for Rs 10,000.

 Bakrid in Uttar Pradesh: Muslims divided on Yogi Adityanaths instructions disallowing animal sacrifice in open

Goats lined up for 'qurbani' in Uttar Pradesh. Image Courtesy: Mirah Zamin

One one hand, there are many who feel the way Khalid and Rasheeda did when told they could not celebrate Bakrid. But on the other hand, a number of Muslims are looking at Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s orders on Bakrid — disallowing animal sacrifices in the open — positively.

Shaista Ambar, president of the All India Muslim Women's Personal Law Board, believes that this was the right decision if seen from the perspective of health. “Many fall ill. Draining blood and offal in open spaces is highly unhygienic,” Ambar said.

However, she also said that the government should have set up a committee on the matter before Adityanath issued the instructions, or even made arrangements for disposal if they did not want people to litter in the open.

Old Lucknow, where most of the Muslims of the city live, has the worst drainage system, according to the Lucknow Nagar Nigam. The state of the sewers worsens every year after Bakrid because the blood and animal residue dries up and blocks the pipes.

An animal activist from Uttar Pradesh, Kamna Pandey welcomed Adityanath's orders, calling it a “much-needed move”. Adding that slaughtering animals for religion is an inhuman act, she said: “It is not part of religion to leave animals out in the open to rot and spread diseases and risk people’s lives. It is worse when it rains... This was a much-needed move and I welcome it. I have never been able to step out of the house on Bakrid because the sight is unbearable.”

Nawab Masood Abdullah, a resident of Sheesh Mahal in Lucknow who offers a sacrifice in his garden every year, said people “should keep their religion to their own houses” if they live in a society “with mixed beliefs”. “We live in a diverse society... By openly slaughtering an animal, people might hurt others’ religious sentiments,” he said.

A boy with two goats meant for sacrifice at Rumi Darwaza near Lucknow. Image Courtesy: Mirah Zamin

A boy with two goats meant for sacrifice at Rumi Darwaza near Lucknow. Image Courtesy: Mirah Zamin

Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, imam of the Lucknow Eidgah, said he had issued the same instructions through his Facebook page, where he had listed eight points to be followed during Bakrid. “In Islam, it is a sin to trouble others by your acts. Islam preaches humanity and respect for others' religious sentiments. So we have been following all these instruction for years,” he said.

Several political parties in Uttar Pradesh have openly criticised the chief minister’s orders. The national spokesperson of the Peace Party of India, Aslam Zaidi, said it is illegal to not allow one to practice his or her religion. “Yogi and his BJP talk about ‘sanskriti’ (culture) and ‘asthaa’ (belief), but it is very evident that he is trying to suppress Muslims further. He gives speeches about giving all religions an equal platform, but if this is how he thinks he will make that happen, we surely need to reconsider many points.”

Spokesperson for the Uttar Pradesh Congress Omkar Singh asserted that it was inappropriate to make such statements on any religion. “My question to Yogi Aditiyanath is: Will it be considered a ‘qurbani’ if one gets it done at a slaughterhouse? Not everyone is rich enough to have an open space inside their houses, which forces them to perform the religious activity on the roads outside,” he said.

Updated Date: Aug 21, 2018 21:56:34 IST