‘Meat shop ban’ exists in few UP cities despite govt’s clarification
The controversy over the closure of meat shops in UP started on April 1 after Ghaziabad mayor shot off a letter to the nagar swasthya adhikari to ensure closure of all meat shops in the city for nine days during Navratri. But the state government clarified that there was no such order
LUCKNOW Even as the state government clarified that there was no order for the closure of meat shops during the ongoing Chaitra Navratri festival (April 2 to 10), municipal bodies of various cities in Uttar Pradesh had imposed a ban on these shops during the nine-day period.
“No order has been issued by the Uttar Pradesh government for the closure of meat shops during the nine-day-long Navratri festival,” said Navneet Sehgal, additional chief secretary, information.
After the video of Ghaziabad food safety officer went viral on April 2 directing meat shop owners and non-vegetarian eateries to stay shut or else shops will be destroyed by bulldozers in view of the order issued by the state government, principal secretary (UP Food and Drug Administration) Anita Singh on Tuesday told officers that no such notification had been issued by the state government.
Deputy commissioner, FDA, Hari Singh said the department made it clear to officers in all districts that no order for the closure of meat shops during Navratri was issued by the state government. “Officers were directed to ensure that cleanliness was maintained near religious spots where devotees assemble to offer prayers. Meat shops should not be located within 200 metres of religious spots. It’s a routine order that is issued by the department every year during the festivity. Officers are also directed to check slaughter of certain animals,” he said.
The controversy over the closure of meat shops in UP started on April 1 after Ghaziabad mayor Asha Sharma shot off a letter to the nagar swasthya adhikari to ensure closure of all meat shops in the city for nine days during Navratri. On April 2, Sharma reversed the earlier order directing the officers to follow the instructions issued by the UP government.
Lucknow mayor Sanyukta Bhatia directed LMC officials to shift meat shops in narrow lanes to commercial areas on the city’s outskirts.
She said this was aimed at saving the population living in narrow lanes from communicable diseases.
“Many communicable diseases spread because of filth. Usually, meat sellers in narrow lanes are not monitored by authorities and they sell products without following norms. There is need to stop this practice of selling meat in narrow lanes to save population there from communicable diseases,” said Mayor Sanyukta Bhatia.
She added, “I have only asked the shops to be shifted, not closed. And there is no religious angle to it.”
In Ayodhya, sale of liquor and meat is prohibited on Panchkosi Parikrama Marg, which covers the area around Ram Janmabhoomi, Hanuman Garhi temple and other temples within 15-km radius.
However, saints of Ayodhya, on several occasions, have demanded extension of this ban from Panchkoshi Parikrama Marg up to 14 Koshi Parikrama Marg.
This ban was imposed long back by the erstwhile Ayodhya Nagar Palika when Ayodhya was a separate municipal body under Faizabad district.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had renamed Faizabad as Ayodhya district in November 2018 during Deepotsav celebrations in Ayodhya.
“Construction of Ram temple is underway. It is our long-pending demand to ban sale of meat and liquor on 14 Kosi Parikrama Marg, which will cover the entire district,” said Mahant Kamal Nayan Das, designated successor of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das.
Nritya Gopal is the chairman of Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust.
In 2004, the Supreme Court upheld the move to make Haridwar, Rishikesh and Muni ki Reti free from non-vegetarian food by prohibiting sale of meat.
A UP government spokesman said the powers to ban the sale of meat and liquor were vested in the respective municipal bodies.
Kanpur mayor Pramila Pandey has decided to impose a nine-day ban on meat shops during Navratri festivity.
“There will be complete closure of meat shops for nine days,” she told HT after a meeting with officials on Tuesday.
But Food and Drug authority (FDA) officials said there was no such order from the government in this regard. “No notification has been issued from the government,” said additional commissioner, FDA, VP Singh.
“How can we shut shops unless we are ordered to do so. There is no such order in this regard. All this talk of shutting down meat shops is baseless and absurd,” he added.
On the other hand, Pandey seemed determined for closure of meat shops within the jurisdiction of Kanpur Municipal Corporation (KMC).
“I am observing fast…seeing animals being slaughtered openly does make one feel bad,” she said.
“It is not a matter of Hindu or Muslim, the order will be for all,” she added.
Pandey is the second mayor after her Ghaziabad counterpart to have taken this stand. Kanpur has 225 licenced shops for buffalo meat. These outlets get supplies from the mechanised slaughter houses in Unnao.
AGRA/ MATHURA/ ALIGARH
Though most of the districts in Agra and Aligarh division had no government orders for closure of meat shops during Navratri, the district panchayat president of Aligarh had ordered for shutting meat shops during the nine-day period.
However, the situation was different in Mathura because of the status of ‘teerth’ accorded to the city on September 10, 2021. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath had fulfilled the long-pending demand of declaring Mathura as a ‘teerth sthal’ (pilgrimage).
The 10 sq km area, including Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi, having 22 of the 70 wards of Mathura Nagar Nigam was declared as a pilgrimage, which means that liquor and meat could not be sold in this ‘teerth sthal’. There are seven other spots in Mathura district, which had already been declared pilgrimage by the Yogi Adityanath regime in the past.
Earlier, seven spots linked to the life of Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha had been declared ‘teerth sthal’ in Mathura district comprising twin religious cities of Mathura and Vrindavan. The list of ‘teerth sthals’ in Mathura district includes the towns of Vrindavan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon, Goverdhan, Baldev and Radhakund.
Recently, the Aligarh district panchayat had ordered closure of meat shops during the nine-day Navratri.
In the order issued last Saturday, the district panchayat warned that licences of shops violating the directive would be cancelled without prior notice. This order could have affected more than 100 meat shops in the rural area in 12 blocks of Aligarh district, but it was not backed by the district administration.
“There is no such order for closure of meat shops during Navratri in Aligarh district,” stated district magistrate of Aligarh, Selva Kumari J.
A senior official of Varanasi Nagar Nigam said meat shop owners were instructed to maintain hygiene and cleanliness but no directive was issued for closure of meat shops.
No ban or restriction on the sale of meat or shifting of meat shops has been ordered in Prayagraj region. The municipal officials and the district administration officials in Prayagraj, Pratapgarh and Kaushambi districts confirmed that no such orders have been issued in the respective district.