Yet another political battle royal has begun with some state governments banning the sale of meat of various kinds, with two High Courts also seized of the question. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, hearing a PIL against cow slaughter, has ordered the police to strictly enforce a 150-year old ban on the sale of beef. This has triggered an outcry from large sections of local people, with many politicians and separatist leaders calling for only beef to be consumed on Eid ul Zuha. Meanwhile the Bombay High Court, hearing a plea by mutton dealers, recently observed that the ban on animal slaughter and sale of meat for four days during the Jain fasting period ‘Paryushan Parva’ is not feasible in a metropolis like Mumbai. ‘What about packaged meat already available in the market?,” the court asked. On the streets of Mumbai though, a huge row has broken out with the Shiv Se and Maharashtra vnirman Se (MNS) vying to defy the meat ban. Both the parties have set up mutton and poultry stalls to sell meat, challenging Maharashtra’s BJP government and Mumbai civic authorities to impose restrictions on the non-vegetarian diet of the ‘Marathi Manoos’. Shiv Se chief Uddhav Thackeray has even threatened the Jain community ‘not to follow the path of Muslims because at least Muslims have Pakistan to go to, but where will the Jains go?’ Feeling the heat from its allies, the BJP in Maharashtra is now reportedly backing down from its move to extend the meat ban period during Paryushan to eight days. However the BJP governments of Rajasthan and Gujarat are enforcing the meat ban during the Jain festival. In April this year, it was the BJP-Shiv Se government of Maharashtra that had banned the sale of beef in the state. At that time, a BJP spokesman had commented that ‘those who can’t do without beef can go to Pakistan or Arab countries’. Union minister and Aruchal BJP leader Kiren Rijiju had protested, pointing out that in the Northeast states, a sizeable section of people do eat beef. ‘This is a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-commul country. We must respect each other’s practices,” he had rightly commented. As for the Congress, it is now trying to seize the high moral ground by flaying the BJP for its ‘bigoted’ move, but the meat ban in Maharashtra during the Jain fast was introduced way back in 1994 when the Congress was ruling the state.