Bakrid, Ritual of Sacrifice and Slaughter of Buffaloes

Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju

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Eid ul Zuha (also known as Eid al Adha or Bakrid) is on 21st July, 2021 in India.

In this connection I may narrate a story.

This incident happened soon after I was elevated a Judge of the Allahabad High Court in 1991.

A petition was filed before me a few days before Bakrid by a lawyer belonging to a right wing Hindu group praying that I should pass an order prohibiting slaughter of buffaloes by Muslims on the occasion of Bakrid as a ‘qurbani’ (sacrifice).

buffaloes

Now poor Muslims often cannot afford to sacrifice a goat, as it is too expensive. So 7 of them get together and collectively buy and sacrifice a buffalo on Bakrid, as the per head cost is less than singly sacrificing a goat, and so can be afforded.

It is believed among Muslims that the spiritual benefit for doing so is the same as slaughtering a goat.

I asked the learned counsel why I should pass such an order ? He replied that buffalo is the ‘sawaari‘ of Lord Yamraj, the Hindu god of death who comes on a buffalo with a rope when one dies, to tie one and take one away.

So slaughtering buffaloes hurts the religious feelings of the Hindus.

bakridI said ‘chooha’ (mouse) is the sawaari of Lord Ganesh. Should I also prohibit killing of mice ?

There are numerous Hindu gods and goddesses each having some animal as a ‘sawaari‘. Should I prohibit killing of all those animals ?

There is a law against slaughter of cows in UP called the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, and there is also a law against killing of wildlife, called the Wildlife ( Protection ) Act, 1972 made by Parliament. But there is no law against the slaughter of buffaloes.

I told the lawyer I will only enforce the law, and not sentiments, and having said this I dismissed the petition.

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Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India.

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