‘Vegetarians can’t use court to lobby’
Rosy Sequeira TNN 6th Jan 2012
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a PIL filed by Viniyog Pariwar Trust against the slaughter of cattle at Deonar abattoir and the export of meat. The petition said in 1983, the BMC banned the export of meat. “BMC has no authority to use the slaughter house for exporters,” said Viniyog’s advocate Praful Shah, adding, the abattoir had been running into losses of Rs 116 crore for a decade now. He said under the civic laws, it was clear that the Deonar abattoir was established only to cater to the “need of the locals and not foreigners and exports”.
But BMC advocate Geeta Joglekar said considering the poor financial status, on March 20, 1985, it was decided not to implement the 1983 resolution, banning exports. She said slaughter was carried out between 11pm and 6am for local use, while the entire day, the machines lay idle. So, she said, exporters were allowed to use them. “We only provide space and charge double from exporters,” she added.
All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Associations advocate Zubin Kamdin argued that since Deonar abattoir was set up in 1972, export had been allowed till date. “Just because a person has a particular ideology, it cannot be imposed on others. This court is not a forum and a PIL cannot be used to impose ideology on others,” said Kamdin. Justice Dalvi said because a petitioner had a particular opinion, it did not prevent him from filing a PIL and the court would examine the case on merit. Kamdin said the trust’s prayer amounted to interference in the policy decision of the BMC. “According to them, meat-eating is a western culture,” he added. According to him, exports from Deonar alone accounted for Rs 226 crore annually.
This is from a letter I wrote some time ago, but the topics are ever fresh.
To: HT Mumbai Main <email@example.com>Sent: Tuesday, April 8, 2008 7:55:28 PM
Subject: Vegetarian Sinner?
Deonar abattoir closed for nine days! Some Jain vegetarians have their way, forcing their beliefs down the throats of millions.
Politicians had successfully lobbied the impotent government to stop the main production center for meat in Mumbai for nine days as a Jain festival was being celebrated. Vote bank appeasement perhaps but this was a danger signal that I could not ignore anymore.The Jain religion and some other philosophies apparently believe that it is a sin to kill animals. I thought it is time to correct this view once and for all.
The whole question of vegetarian vs non-vegetarianism is rooted in emotions and so-called spirituality since time immemorial.There are two main aspects of this issue.
Firstly many people are of the opinion that if you are a vegetarian, you are more spiritual. I recalled meeting an elderly gentleman in Gujurat who proclaimed that the answer to India’s problems lay in everyone adopting a ‘satvik’ vegetarian diet. He, and many other sincere people think that what you eat determines your character. Was he right?
Centuries of vegetarianism in India and look at the condition of our dear country. B12 and Vitamin D deficiency over the generations have played havoc on our health, making Indians the highest risk population for Diabetes and Heart Disease.
So the question is, is non-vegetarian food bad for you spiritually? Does it make you s sinner or bad?
Jesus answered the diet-character question 2000 years ago. His disciples asked Jesus whether it was the food they ate that made a man do evil. Jesus said “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts”. The problem lies in the heart of man.
Secondly many people also think that there is no difference between humans and animals. That also makes them believe that it is a sin to kill animals. To think that we are no different from animals would amount to actually insulting the Living God who made us humans uniquely in His image and who longs to have a relationship with us much like a loving father would love his children.
Has anyone seen a praying monkey or goat? Doesn’t science itself marvel at the difference between man and all other created living beings? Does not even the law of India treat murder of a human being as a crime worse than killing a pig?
We humans are certainly made different from all other living beings! We have a soul and a human spirit which has the potential to connect to the Living God!
We humans have been made stewards by God of the entire earth [Genesis 1]. We are all answerable to God for how we have taken care of earth and its creatures. It is our duty to see that animals if at all consumed for food are killed as painlessly and humanely as possible, and when needed for food alone, not for fun.
As for the answer to who or what can save India, I believe that the answer lies in the person of Jesus Christ alone.The fallen nature of man’s heart is at once the most easily provable fact as also the one most denied philosophically. A casual glance through the events happening all over will tell us that we humans are sinners.
Why deny it? Real change of character in us humans can only come when we accept that we are sinners, repent with our whole heart, and believe that God has forgiven our sins through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross 2000 years ago, a fact easily proven historically.
The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. No amount of fasting or vegetarianism has or can cure our country of its many ills. Centuries of history tell us the same story.
But sometimes we prefer to re invent the wheel. Hope this article opens your eyes dear readers. Hope you would not judge people by what they eat, rather by what comes out of their hearts. Let us respect the rights of others and allow them to eat what they want, treat them as you would your own brother or sister. Are not all Indians your brothers and sisters?
I love my India. Long live India!