After the hijab, food preferences and eating habits have become a part of the country’s polarizing politics. The recent decision by the southern and eastern mayors to ban the sale of non-vegetarian food within nine days of the Navratri festival has sparked nationwide controversy.
A large number of independent surveys over the years have shown that the majority of Indians are vegetarians, although they choose restrictions during religious festivals.
On Tuesday, the mayors of South and East Delhi in their jurisdiction asked meat shops to close during Navratri, saying “most people do not eat non-vegetarian food for nine days”, even without a government order issued by a civic body. Following their remarks, several meat shop owners in this part of the national capital have shut down their establishments for fear of action by officials.
However, some markets in the city do not sell meat on Tuesdays because many Hindus consider this day of the week auspicious. Although the mayors of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) have called for the shops to be closed during the nine-day festival, there has been no word from the North Corporation that, like the other two, is BJP-ruled.
SDMC has about 1,500 registered meat shops under its jurisdiction. This is the first time that a civic body has asked to close its meat shops during Navratri, which has been observed since April 2.
Conflict is spreading like wildfire
In March, Nanda Kishore Gurjar, re-elected MLA of Loni in Ghaziabad, said in an inflammatory statement that there was no place for meat shops in Ram state. “I would like to point out to the officials that not a single meat shop can be seen in Loni – there is Ram Rajya [rule of Hindu god Ram] Here in Loni. Have you seen meat shops in Ram state? Just eat milk and ghee, if you don’t have cows I will send you one. ”
Cut from April, Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation banned the sale of raw meat from 2 April to 10 April. According to officials this is a “regular order prohibiting meat during the festival.” The order reads, “The mayor has instructed the temples to maintain cleanliness and close the meat shops during the period. It has been instructed that in their respective areas, the temples should be kept clean and the meat shops should be closed. “
South Delhi Mayor Mukesh Suryan on Tuesday said there was “no need to open a meat shop” during Navratri, claiming that “most people do not eat non-vegetarian food” during the period, and that the move had provoked strong reactions on social media. Although no official order has been issued yet, Surya said in a letter to SDMC Commissioner Gyanesh Bharati on Monday that “religious beliefs and feelings of devotees are affected” when they come to the meat shop or have to endure the stench of meat. The way to make their daily prayers to Goddess Durga during Navratri. Meat shops will not be allowed to open from Tuesday to April 11 during Navratri, he said, and asked the municipal commissioner to ensure strict compliance with his instructions.
“Most of the meat shops were closed today. Most people do not eat meat, onion and garlic during Navratri. Therefore, keeping in mind the religious sentiments of the people, there is no need to open a meat shop during the Navratri festival. An order in this regard will be issued today, ”said Surya.
The BJP is supporting the ban
Delhi BJP MP Parvez Saheb Singh Verma on Tuesday backed his party-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) mayor’s order to close meat shops during Navratri, saying such bans should be imposed across the country. Verma, who represents the West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency, appealed to Muslims not to be influenced by “provocative” statements and to show respect for Hindu festivals and welcome the SDMC decision.
Meat shops will not be allowed to open during Navratri till April 11, SDMC mayor Mukesh Surya said on Monday and asked the municipal commissioner to ensure strict compliance with his directives. An official order has not yet been issued to ban meat shops during Navratri. Verma said followers of one religion should respect another religion.
“There is a Navratri festival where people fast and worship the goddess. Whether it is the Muslim community or others, they should respect what our culture says, “Verma told reporters. Welcoming the SDMC mayor’s directive to close meat shops during Navratri, the BJP MP said it should follow the other two municipal corporations in Delhi.
“Actually, it should be applied across the country,” he said. Verma said the Muslim community should not be influenced by “provocative” statements by leaders like Asaduddin Waisi and that harmony should be maintained.
“If other communities respect Hindu festivals and welcome the decision, we will also respect when their festivals are celebrated,” he said. In a letter to the SDMC commissioner, the mayor said, “Religious beliefs and feelings of the devotees are damaged.” When they come to the meat shop or go to pray to Goddess Durga every day during Navratri, they have to endure the stench of meat.
The Uttar Pradesh government says no such order has been issued
Amid reports that meat shops in some districts of Uttar Pradesh are being closed on Navratri, the government on Monday clarified that no such order has been issued. “No such order has been issued by the government. Ask the districts from which such reports are coming, where the orders came from, “Additional Chief Secretary for Information Navneet Sehgal told PTI.
He was responding to a question on news from various districts of the state that meat shops were being closed during the nine-day Hindu festival. In Aligarh, district panchayat chairman Vijay Singh issued an order on April 2 to close all meat shops in the area under the district panchayat “during the Navratri festival”.
There are approximately 100 meat shops in these areas. However, this order does not apply to Aligarh city shops.
Opponents are condemning the meat ban
On Tuesday, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Maitra condemned the ban on meat shops in South Delhi for the Hindu festival of Navratri. “I live in South Delhi,” he said in a tweet calling for a constitution. The constitution allows me to eat meat whenever I want and gives the shopkeeper the freedom to run his business. Full stop, “he said in a tweet this morning.
(With agency input)
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