After South Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor called for closure of meat shops during the Hindu festival of Navratri, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Wednesday reminded the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of the constitutional rights of citizens.

In a tweet, Moitra, who is a South Delhi resident, said the Constitution allows her to eat meat whenever she likes and gives shopkeepers the freedom to run their business.

Her remarks came after South Delhi Mayor Mukkesh Suryaan had on Monday said that meat shops would offend religious beliefs and sentiments of Hindus observing Navratri. Navratri began on April 2 and will go on till April 11.

In a letter to the commissioner of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Suryaan who is a member of the BJP also claimed that, “In these days, people forgo even use of onions and garlic in their diet and the sight of meat being sold in open or near temples make them uncomfortable.”

An official order banning meat shops has not been issued yet. However, customers going to INA market in Delhi to buy meat were turned away on Tuesday afternoon.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asked whether it would be fine to ban every “non-Muslim resident” from eating in public in the Union Territory during Ramazan as Muslims do not eat between sunrise and sunset then.

“If majoritarianism is right for South Delhi, it has to be right for J&K,” said the National Conference leader in a tweet.

Congress leader Salman Nizami called out the BJP for being “hypocritical” about its stance on meat. “They have problem with meat shops in South Delhi, but promises quality beef in North East and Goa,” Nizami wrote on Twitter. “Hypocrisy thy name is BJP!”

Demand for ban on meat shops

On Tuesday, Suryaan had claimed that 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 added. “People complained to me. The fasting people were facing problems over the cutting of meat in the open.”

Workers and owners at the INA meat shops – both Hindu and Muslim – were upset that they would lose their daily wages for a week if the ban came into effect.

While Suryaan vowed to “strictly enforce” the meat ban, Congress South Delhi councillor Abhishek Dutt pointed out that the mayor did not have the power to enforce such decisions, he could only make recommendations to the councillor.

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

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