Mumbai: MNS workers on Tuesday forced staffers of civic-run meat shops here to reopen the outlets which were closed by the municipal corporation in view of 'Paryushan', the Jain festival of fasting.
The Raj Thackeray-led party slammed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for enforcing ban on meat sale and the slaughter of animals today and September 5 in view of the festival during which community members observe fast and spend time on reflection, self-purification and meditation.
According to MNS, the civic body or state government cannot decide the food habits of people. The protest by MNS came a day after Raj criticised BMC and government's decision to close down abattoirs for a few days during Paryushan.
MNS activists forced staffers of at least 10 BMC-run meat shops in Dadar and other areas to reopen the outlets, the party's group leader in BMC, Sandeep Deshpande, said.
"If you are closing abattoirs, then it is OK up to certain extent. But who are the BMC and state government to decide the food preferences of common people. This is why we strongly opposed the move to close the civic-run meat shops and asked the officials to open them," he said.
"What one wants to eat is for that person to decide. Who is the state government to decide it? This is why workers led by our leaders in the city visited the meat markets and got the stops opened," Deshpande said.
Raj had yesterday lashed out at the Jain community for seeking closure of abattoirs during 'Paryushan', saying if slaughterhouses can remain open during 'shravan' (during which most Hindus shun non-vegetarian food) why not during the fasting festival?
Meanwhile, MNS leader Shalini Thackeray today met the Mumbai Metro officials and demanded permission to let commuters carry meat with them in the metro for domestic use.
"When common people can travel with meat in local trains and BEST (civic-run) buses, then why not in metro trains?" she asked.
On Sunday, a metro commuter was not allowed to board a train as he was carrying raw meat with him.
However, Mumbai Metro said it was only following rules enforced for all metro train systems in the country.
A Mumbai Metro spokesperson said, "Raw and uncooked meat is prohibited inside metro to avoid any inconvenience to fellow passengers in closed-door air-conditioned environment. This law is followed across all the metros in the country".