The Bombay Parsi Punchayat Trustees have decided to breed Vultures in captivity in an Aviary. To enable disposal of corpses, the Aviary will be located at Doongerwadi precincts.
The cost estimate is Rs. 25 crores with recurring cost of around Rs. 50 lacs in terms of Salary of men power, Veterinarians, Monitoring thru CCTV's etc. The installation of CCTV's will imply intrusion into privacy and even non Parsee staff manning the Aviary will be able to see the inside of Dakhmas.
Secondly and more importantly is the provision of Trust Deed which appointed BPP to look after the property and its upkeep for disposal of dead in keeping with the tenets of the Religion and long followed custom. Nowhere in the said Trust Deed the Trustees are empowered to spend /waste money on experiments like Aviary, whose chances of success are remote.
Thirdly, it is proposed to 'test' the corpses with a 'dip stick' method to determine if the body has contents of diclofenac. Most communities resent piercing the body of a dead person. As such this practice will cause resentment and uproar. All Parsees do not seek medical advice from Parsee medical practitioners and the pain relief is more important to the men of medicine then life of vultures.
Moreover if the plan envisages a period of 15 years, then the current Trustees will not be in office and as such will escape their accountability for the failure of the project . This seems to be intentional. Till April 2012, the BPP Trustees have stated on record that the system was working fine, i.e. Solar Panels. It is amusing to see two sides of litigants, in Banned Priests Case coming to compromise just to satisfy their individual dreams, working hard for the project where there is no certainty of success.
On theological grounds, many honest priests including Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor of Udwada and Dasturji Meherji Rana of Navsari have validly and boldly objected to this proposal. Even in 2000 , this proposal was shelved because it is just not possible for vultures to survive on dead Parsees many of the bodies are of feeble, emaciated old men and women, crudely stated as bag of bones with little flesh. Mrs. Perry Jones had rightly observed some twelve years ago that there would be a problem if the birds were not provided additional meat of goats and other freshly slaughtered animals. The two high Priests who have backed this project by signing on dotted lines cannot deny what they have themselves stated in their letter dated 21/6/2000 to the Punchayet trustees explaining their positions on a number of issues appertaining to the strengthening of the system of dokhmenashini, including the issue of an alternative diet to be fed to the birds. Quote"We see no objection to providing alternative diets for the vultures within the aviary complex providing it is done discreetly, without affecting the visual sentiments of our people.
Both Dasturs Jamasp Asa and Kotwal wrote a letter dated 21/6/2000 to the Punchayet trustees explaining their positions on a number of issues appertaining to the strengthening of the system of dokhmenashini, including the issue of an alternative diet to be fed to the birds. All such quotes are available in the Article titled Give Aviary Project a Sporting Chance by Khojeste Mistree and is available on the net.
During the last decade many multistoried buildings have come up around Doongerwadi vicinity and most of these have been occupied by Jains and other vegetarian diet consuming communities. Even one non Vegetarian outlet had to shut shop and an outlet selling fish had to close down due to sensitivities of the majority of people residing close by. To contemplate slaughtering of goats in Ambavadi complex will not only foment trouble and animosity vis-a-vis with sister communities, but in fact would be a breach of law as no slaughter of animal is allowed in public except in slaughter house and even Muslims who believe in animal sacrifice on Bakri Idd day have to obtain special permission.
Moreover, scattering animal meat in the dokhma complex would vitiate the sanctity of the place and offend the relatives of the deceased.
It is therefore deliberate falsehood to state that things have changed in the last 12 years and animal meat would not be required as supplementary diet for vultures. Common sense demands that dietary demands of birds of prey cannot change to suit the convenience of motives of some Parsees.
Since the governmental agencies are being associated with this project, time may not be far off when such agencies would demand use of this land for other types of experiments and projects and at that time, the current Trustees would no longer be in office to be answerable for their recklessness.
B.P.P has taken a grant from the local MLA funds from Shri Mangal Prabhat Lodha for repairs and renovation work at the Towers of Silence. Besides, the Government of India has decided to provide Financial Assistance for the Community due to its declining numbers. As such, the apex body of the community cannot be allowed to fritter away Public Charity funds for issues raised by a couple of caparacious Trustees.
The aim of this online petition is to inform the BPP Trustees the sentiments of the community not to squander money on such an experiment and instead utilize this amount for betterment of the living members of the community and assist in more births amongst the Parsees.
Those sharing this perspective and desirous of conveying their disapproval of the experiment to BPP are requested to sign this petition, mention their E Mail address and if possible their BPP voters Registration Number,(General /Donor).
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