Political leaders and social activists questioned the locus standi of SDMC Mayor Mukesh Suryan to recommend for the closure of meat shops in south Delhi till April 11, 2022.
Waquar Hasan| Clarion India
NEW DELHI – Decision of South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to ban meat during Navaratri came under fire from both political leaders and social activists. Critics of the move questioned the locus standi of SDMC Mayor Mukesh Suryan who wrote to SDMC commissioner Gyanesh Bharti asking for the closure of meat shops in south Delhi till April 11, 2022.
The contention of the mayor was that religious sentiments are hurt if the meat shops remained open during Navratri, the ongoing Hindu festival spanning over nine nights.
“During the auspicious period, devotees observe fast for nine days with a strict vegetarian diet while abstaining from non-vegetarian food, alcohol and also certain spices. People forgo even the use of onion and garlic in their diet and the sight of meat being sold in open or near temples make them uncomfortable. Their religious belief and sentiments are affected when they come across meat shops,” the letter read.
Speaking to Clarion India on Wednesday, Prof. Apoorvanand Jha of the Delhi University termed the meat ban “unconstitutional” and “counter-bully”.
“This is a way of imposing a particular culture on people of all religions. This is also to hit Muslims and their economic activities,” he said.
He also pointed out that the logic behind the religious sentiment getting hurt due to someone eating meat is an excuse to impose a particular culture on others and to economically harm Muslims.
In this context, he cited the examples of Hindus observing Navaratri at other places where the meat shops are open. For example, Hindus are observing Navaratri in the US also. Are the meat shops closed there, he asked. If someone else is eating meat, how is it going to make an impact on you? Is anyone making you eat it and mocking you by showing it.
“Hurting sentiment is an excuse. The real motive of the meat ban is to hurt Muslims economically. They have no courage to say this openly. Hence, they devise such excuses,” he said.
Political leaders too denounced the ban. Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra tweeted, “I live in South Delhi. The Constitution allows me to eat meat when I like and the shopkeeper the freedom to run his trade. Full stop.”
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, took a dig at the ban by citing the example of fasting during Ramadan. He pointed out that during the holy month in Kashmir; Muslims don’t eat and drink between sunrise and sunset. He posed a question to the votaries of the meat ban whether it is okay to ban eating and drinking during this time in Kashmir.
“If majoritarianism is right for South Delhi, it has to be right for J&K,” he said.
During Ramzan we don’t eat between sunrise & sunset. I suppose it’s OK if we ban every non-Muslim resident or tourist from eating in public, especially in the Muslim dominated areas. If majoritarianism is right for South Delhi, it has to be right for J&K. https://t.co/G5VQylmMvB
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) April 5, 2022
Navaid Hamid, President of (All India Muslim Mjalis e Mushawarat (AIMMM), said that the meat ban was a part of hate politics and electoral gimmicks being played out ahead of municipal elections in Delhi.
“Those who are being affected with the decision should go to the court against the municipality’s move,” he said.