Arshad Afzaal Khan
Slaughtering of animals for meat is banned in Ayodhya, one of India‘s most religious Hindu towns. Here, meat of any kind, cooked or raw, is neither sold nor served even at weddings and parties.However, once a year the local civic body lifts the ban for Bakri Eid. This year too, the ban has been lifted, though there is no official order.“Everything happens with a great understanding between the two communities,“ says a civic official.“Amid all the controversies over meat and beef, the temple town presents the best example of religious tolerance and respect for religious sentiments of the other community,“ he adds.
“In fact, this system was so spontaneous that nobody had even noticed it earlier.But now, in an era of religious intolerance, when people are being attacked and killed over food habits, Ayodhya leads by example. No Hindu religious figure or any mahant has ever objected to the `qurbani’ ritual carried out by hundreds of Muslims in Ayodhya,“ says Jamal Akhtar, a resident of the town.
Talking to TOI, Haji Asad Ahmad, a corporator of Ay odhya Municipal Board, says, “We have been observing `qurbani’ in Ayodhya forever.Although animal slaughter is banned here, Muslim families offer qurbani on Bakri Eid without any fear.“
Ayodhya Municipal Board chairman Radhey Shyam Gupta chairman says, “Slaughtering is not allowed within the periphery of `Panch Kosi’ in Ayodhya, but on Bakri Eid, Muslims offer qurbani in their houses… there is no objection to `qurbani’ inside houses.“
Sadiq Ali, a local Muslim leader who lives in his ancestral house in Ayodhya located adjacent to Babri Masjid premises, says: “We perform `qurbani’ in the premises of our house …there has never been objection from any Hindu religious leader. Instead, they greet us with blessings.“
Mahant Yugal Kishore Sharan Shastry , the priest of a temple, adjacent to Babri Masjid premises, said: “Qurbani is the most important ritual of Bakri Eid. If our Muslim brothers are observing it within the premises of their houses then why should anybody object to it?
This shows our tolerance for the sentiments of the Muslim community .“