At least 300 meat shops in Gurugram, including an outlet of international fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken, were asked to pull up their shutters on Tuesday night by a group of people who claimed to be Shiv Sena workers, reported Hindustan Times. The group of protestors said they wanted the establishments to remain shut for the nine-day festival of Navratri. They also demanded that all meat shops in the region remain shut on Tuesdays, when, they said, Hindus were barred from eating meat.
One Ritu Raj, who claimed to be the district spokesperson of the Sena, had said that the shops they had targeted were illegal and they had been sent a prior notice. “Most of them do not follow proper procedures laid down for meat shops,” he said.
The Shiv Sena, however, denied any involvement in the incident. “There’s no spokesperson by this name [Ritu Raj] in the Shiv Sena,” said Harshal Pradhan, media advisor to Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. “We didn’t carry out any such drive in Gurugram.”
The Gurugram Police have yet to receive a complaint in connection with Wednesday’s incident. A police spokesperson said they would take action against people found guilty of forcibly shutting down authorised establishments.
KFC has issued a statement saying that their outlets were committed to due compliance with the laws of the land. “We have not received any notification from the authorities on limiting operations during the Navratras or Tuesdays,” KFC said. “We would like to reiterate that KFC has the highest respect for the cultural and religious beliefs of all communities and believe that consumers are free to make choices and decisions.”
Meanwhile, the crackdown on illegal meat shop initiated by the Uttar Pradesh government caught on in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. The BJP government of the four states shut down three meat shops in Haridwar, 11 in Raipur and one in Indore, The Times of India reported
Meat sellers in Jaipur announced their decision to protest against the curbs on Wednesday, TOI reported. Around 4,000 illegal meat-selling stores are facing closure by the Jaipur Municipal Corporation from April. Meat vendors are alleging that licence renewal applications for 950 of these stores were denied on March 31, 2016. The state’s meat sellers said the civic authority had also delayed issuing a notification after it had approved a proposal to hike the licence fee from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000.
In Chhattisgarh, Raipur Municipal Corporation Zone-2 commissioner RK Dongre said the illegal meat stores were dumping waste into sewers or on the roadside. Indore Municipal Corporation officials told The Times of India that a shop was sealed after they found that the complaints of unhygienic conditions were true.
The crackdown in Jharkhand came on Tuesday, a week after the Vishva Hindu Parishad had demanded that illegal slaughterhouses in the state be closed. Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had directed the police to begin closing down illegal slaughterhouses in his state. He had also ordered a blanket ban on the smuggling of cows in Uttar Pradesh.
Lucknow has suffered the most with the only four legal slaughterhouses in the city shut down between 2013 and 2015. On March 21, three meat shops owned by members of the Muslim community were set ablaze in Hathras.
On Monday, meat sellers across Uttar Pradesh began an indefinite strike to protest against the recent crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses. They alleged that that they are being targeted under the new dispensation.