Meat shop owners in Delhi forced to shut down for Navratri

No official order issued; shopkeepers upset as business will go down; some say owners are being targeted because they are Muslims.

Published: 06th April 2022 08:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th April 2022 08:03 AM   |  A+A-

Meat shops closed after recieving orders from the South civic body due to the festival of Navratri . ( Photo | EPS)

Meat shops closed after recieving orders from the South civic body due to the festival of Navratri . ( Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Many meat shops across the city were closed while some were forced to shut down on Tuesday, a day after the South civic body mayor sought closure of these shops during the ongoing nine-day Navratri festival celebrated by Hindus. 

East corporation mayor held a meeting with officials where he instructed them to shut down slaughter houses in the area from April 8-10 and cancel the licences of such shops that are seen selling meat “illegally”. Meat shop owners as well as locals in south Delhi, which houses major meat-selling markets including those at INA and CR Park, among others, said that they were “disappointed” by these diktats that come around the time of festivals and spoil its fervour. Shop owners said that the closure will hurt their business as their stock would go bad.

Over 30 meat shops at INA market were shut till afternoon. Owners said that just out of fear of any violence, most shopkeepers kept their shops closed.  However, some shops opened later as there were no official orders as such. 

They said that this kind of narrative will put them and their workers in a fix as they pay their workers on a daily basis.  A video shared by South Corporation mayor Mukesh Suryan on Tuesday showed that some of BJP workers were going around markets urging meat shops to close down.

“We have been asking the shops to shut down, as it hurts religious sentiments of those fasting. We will ensure that just for these nine days, meat shops do not open,” said Suryan. 

Suryan on Monday wrote to the South civic body commissioner Gyanesh Bharti seeking closure of meat shops during Navratri. However, civic officials said that there has been no order or any communication on the letter so far. “It is just a political move. Nothing official has come on it so far,” said a senior corporation official. 

East Corporation mayor Shyam Sundar Agarwal on Tuesday instructed staff to ensure slaughterhouses remain shut during Navratri. “This is a pious period of fasting. Officials have been asked to ensure that no shops are found selling meat procured illegally”. 

Abid Ali, owner of a chicken shop in Jangpura said that he has not seen any such thing happen in the past and he fears that his business will dip down further. “My father has been running the shop for more than 40 years and now I have also joined. No such direction ever came for us as. We read it in the papers today and came to know that the municipal corporation is planning to shut our shops for 9 days. We will follow the order as we fear what if someone comes and beats us up,” he added.

Abid said that usually he sells 40-50 chickens every day but during the festival the sale goes down as only Afghani, Kashmiri customers come to the shop. He added that because of the fear, they have stopped putting bird cages out on display for some time. 

Sukhbir Singh, owner of a jhatka chicken shop in Bhogal, said, “This is setting a wrong precedent and will lead to business loss,” said Sukhbir. Sukhbir has two boys working for him and he pays them `250 per day, who will suffer if the shop is shut. 

Residents in Bhogal said that some meat shops are usually shut on Tuesdays, which is why most of the shops were seen closed. “I don’t eat meat in Navratri but I am not in favour of the shops getting shut. We have seen these shops operating even during Navratri and nobody had an issue with it. Mostly, the meat shop owners are Muslims and that is why they are being targeted,” said Rakesh Sagar, Bhogal Vyapar Samiti General Secretary. 

He added that they will support the meat shop owners in case of any adversity. “There are no reports on hotels, restaurants being stopped from selling meat but only meat shop owners have been targeted,” added Sagar.

‘Close shops all across India’
New Delhi: Delhi BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma on Tuesday supported his party-ruled South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) mayor’s direction for closing meat shops during Navratri, saying such restrictions should be imposed all over the country. Verma also appealed to the Muslims to not be influenced by “provocative” statements and show respect to the Hindu festival and welcome the SDMC decision. Meat shops will not be allowed to open during Navratri till April 11, SDMC mayor Mukesh Suryan said on Monday

Ankita Upadhyay, Vatsala Shrangi and Priyanshi Sharma  


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