While several states in India are busy imposing ban on sale of meat in view of Jain's Paryushana festival, Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh has done just the opposite by allowing Muslims to practise qurbani (sacrifice) on Eid al-Adha or Bakr-Eid.
In the temple town of Ayodhya, where slaughtering and sale of meat is banned throughout the year, Muslims are allowed to sacrifice goats and sheep and distribute meat among the community to celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice, without any obstruction and protest by the Hindu community.
An Ayodhya Municipal Board (AMB) order bans slaughtering of animals and sale of meat in either raw or cooked form throughout the year, except the three days when Muslims celebrate Eid, The Times of India reported. "We have been observing qurbani in Ayodhya for as far as I remember. Muslim families do it on Eid without any fear," AMB corporator Haji Asad Ahmad said.
Muslims in Ayodhya also said that they never faced any opposition from the Hindu community and has been celebrating Eid al-Adha with peace. Neither the Ram temple movement nor the post-Babri demolition issues came in the way of the communal peace over animal sacrifice during Eid.
"In Ayodhya, there was no problem even during the peak of the Ram Temple movement in the 90s and post-Babri demolition tension...there was no riot in the town," Naseem Ansari, who is a teacher in Ayodhya, said.
"We have been living here since ages. We never faced objections regarding qurbani from any Hindu religious leader. Instead, they greet us," Hafiz Sayyad Akhlaq, who is in charge of a madrassa near Babri Masjid premises, said.
"We do not support violence against animals, but since qurbani is a religious ritual, we have not raised any objection over it, even though animal slaughter is banned in Ayodhya," Mahant Ram Chandra, a Hindu, said.
The bonhomie between the two communities in the ancient city of India is an example to the nation, where meat ban has become an intense issue over the last few weeks.
Whereas the Hindus in Ayodhya are happily letting Muslims celebrate their festival, a Hindu group in Sant Kabir Nagar district's Mushara village, about a 100-km away from the temple town, has threatened to "react" if Muslims sacrifice animals in the village on Eid.
The residents of Ayodhya too feel that India needs to take a cue from Ayodhya and maintain peace among the communities.
"This particular example of qurbani is part of its social fabric. We do not even notice it. But when the entire country is discussing some ban or the other, the temple town's example is worth quoting," PN Srivastava, a resident of Ayodhya, said.