Outrage after Mumbai meat ban
A temporary ban on the sale of meat in India's financial capital Mumbai has outraged people on Twitter and has also sparked a face-off between two coalition partners running the state government in Maharashtra.
The ban on mutton, chicken and pork came into effect on Thursday to "honour" the Jain festival of Paryushana. Maharashtra has already banned the sale and consumption of beef.
However, the authorities in Mira Bhayander area on the outskirts of Mumbai have decided to reduce the ban from eight to two days following intense protests on social media.
The word 'Paryushana' means 'to stay in one place', which signifies a time of reflection and repentance for the Jain devotee. Originally this was primarily a monastic practice. This festival consists of eight days of intensive fasting, repentance and pujas (rituals).
The Shiv Sena, a key coalition partner of the BJP in Maharashtra government, also added its voice to those protesting the ban.
Newspapers editorials had also advised the government to not interfere in religious matters.
"The government should focus only on governance and steer clear of matters that are religious in nature. The slaughter and selling of meat do not directly impact the Jain community. But the government's ban has already rocked the fragile boat of communal harmony," the DNA newspaper said in an editorial on Wednesday.
But the government said that the question of faith was at the heart of its decision. Jains are a minority group in India and officials say that the ban shows respect for the community..
Jains believe that animals and plants, as well as human beings, contain living souls. Each of these souls is considered of equal value and should be treated with respect and compassion.
However, many on social media protested the ban with hashtags like #meatban and #bantheban.