After giving in to threats by the local unit of the Shiv Sena, meat-serving eateries Gurugram’s Sadar Bazar re-opened on Thursday amid heavy police presence. The shops had shut under pressure from the Sena, which said that meat outlets could not be allowed to operate during the nine days of Navratri. The Quint had visited the market on Thursday, when all meat shops were shut. Here’s a detailed account of what we found.
No Meat During Navratri & On Tuesdays: Shiv Sena
Mohammad Sabir Qureshi says he had just opened his shop on Tuesday when a mob equipped with sticks and stones came hurtling in the narrow lanes of Gurugram’s Sadar Bazar. Alarmed at their sudden appearance, owners of the many meat shops in the busy market huddled up. The men, belonging to the Shiv Sena then demanded that all meat shops in in the market be closed for the nine days of the Navratri festival. Additionally, they also asked for all meat shops to stay shut on Tuesdays- a day devoted by Hindus to the worship of Hanuman.
On Wednesday, many of the eateries that normally served non-vegetarian food witnessed a reduced footfall as all meat-dishes went off their menu.
If Shiv Sena goons were not enough to impose restrictions on the sale of meat, policemen too, say meat sellers, came up later and validated the Sena’s demand to shut meat shops. Atleast three persons working in the market verified this claim. However, Gurugram Assistant Commissioner of Police Manish Sehgal on Thursday denied having sent any police personnel to shut meat shops.
Police Had Warned Shiv Sena Workers?
Yet, a day after allegedly asking them to remain shut, the Gurugram police visited Sadar Bazar and asked meat sellers to re-open their shops. Speaking to the Quint, ACP Sehgal had on Wednesday said that “Sena workers were clearly told that nothing illegal would be tolerated.” He also pointed out that his department has not received any complaint in this regard.
Non Vegetarian food – A Demonic Diet?
While meat shop owners are miffed at Shiv Sena’s demand, Lakshman Prasad, a priest at the bazar’s Ram Mandir, says that meat should be banned all across India. Seeking to wean people away from non-vegetarian diet, Prasad adds that “In India, there’s no dearth of vegetarian food.” Prasad also added: “In ancient times, only monsters would survive on meat.”
Camera: Anthony Rozario
Produced by Anthony Rozario & Sonal Gupta
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