A ban on meat shops in south Delhi during the Hindu festival of Navratri will be implemented strictly, Mayor Mukkesh Suryaan told NDTV on Tuesday.

Suryaan, in a letter to the commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation on Monday, sought the closure of meat shops during the festival, claiming that the shops would offend religious beliefs and sentiments of Hindus.

Navratri began on April 2 and will go on till April 11. An official order banning meat shops has not been issued yet, PTI reported on Tuesday evening. However, many such shops were closed at the city’s INA market.

Suryaan claimed he requested for the closure of meat shops in response to complaints and that it does not violate anyone’s personal freedoms.

“We have taken this decision keeping in mind the sentiments of Delhiites,” he said. “People complained to me. The fasting people were facing problems over the cutting of meat in the open.”

The South Delhi mayor added that all slaughterhouses will be closed from April 8 to 10.

Meanwhile, West Delhi MP and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Parvesh Verma supported the call for closure of meat shops during the period of the Navratri. He also demanded that such a ban should be imposed all over the country, according to PTI.

Verma urged Muslims not to be influenced by “provocative statements” of leaders like All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi and asked them to show respect to the Hindu festival.

“If other communities respect the Hindu festival and welcome the decision, we will also show respect when their festivals will be celebrated,” he said.

Demands for ban on meat shops

On Monday, Suryaan said in his letter to the municipal commissioner, had said that during Navratri, devotees of goddess Durga observe fasts and avoid meat, alcohol and certain spices.

“People forgo even the use of onion and garlic, and the sight of meat being sold in open or near temples makes them uncomfortable,” he had said.

Suryaan had also claimed that 99% of households do not even use onion or garlic during Navratri, according to ANI.

East Delhi Mayor Shyam Sundar Agarwal also wrote to the municipal commissioner seeking a ban on meat shops during Navratri.