While India celebrates Navratri festival from 7 to 15 October this year, videos from the past few days have surfaced online, showing members of several Hindutva organizations forcefully shutting down meat shops in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana.
In one of the videos posted on Twitter on Wednesday, members of the Hinduvta outfit called ‘Hindu Army’ could be seen roaming around in the meat market at Delhi’s Som Bazaar in Najafgarh, after claiming to have forcibly closing ‘one to two’ meat shops.
A man is heard greeting a passer-by with ‘Jai Shri Ram’, saying, “Approximately almost all meat shops owned by Hindus are closed. We got information that one-two shops were open, but we shut them down.”
The man said, “We request all our Hindu brothers in Som Bazar to keep their meat shops closed during the Navaratri. The meat market in Najafgarh will remain shut during the Navaratri. Jai Shri Ram. We request everyone not to open meat shops or disrespect the beliefs and feelings of Hindus.”
In another incident, a Facebook live broadcast from Faridabad has gone viral, where a group of men claiming to be from the Bajrang Dal, are seen forcing meat shops to shut down. The Facebook live was done by a Bajrang Dal member named Jeet Vashisth on October 7, and said that he had permission from the police commissioner to shut down the shops.
Talking to The Indian Express, Mujesar Police station SHO Sandeep Kumar, told that the police spoke to the shopkeeper concerned and he has not filed any complaint. “We are yet to identify the group of men,” he said.
Similar incident can also be witnessed in another series of videos from Haryana’s Palwal, posted by Vikram Singh, who claims to be the district vice-president of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal.
In a post in Hindi, he said, “For many days, there was continuous information that despite the festival of Navratri, some meat traders are not closing the meat shops, today again the workers of the organisation reached and forcefully closed all the shops along with the police administration and also warned shopkeepers that no one will open the shop until the fast of Navratri is completed.”
“A team went to the spot and settled the matter. To avoid a law-and-order issue, the shopkeeper was asked to close his shop at the time. The situation was peaceful,” a police officer was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
In another video posted by Ved Nagar, he can be heard saying that not one meat shop should be open in India. “If you see a meat shop open, call police, inform your district authorities and teach them about Mata Rani’s Navratri,” he added.
It is up to the people from the ‘Sanatani Dharam’ to take the responsibility of closing such shops, he said further claiming that anyone who tries to open his shop on Navratri will go to jail.
Earlier, several outfits under the banner of Samyukta Hindu Sangharsh on October 5 had written to deputy commissioner of Gurugram seeking directions to shut all meat shops during Navratri.
Group spokesperson Rajiv Mittal, was quoted as saying, “We have been protesting against this for the past 4 to 5 years. There are 150 registered meat shops in Gurugram. But there are thousands of shops that are running illegally. We have written to the Deputy Commissioner seeking their permanent closure”, according to reports by Times of India.
The Hinduvta group also raised “concern” over namaz being offered in public spaces, and said that it causes “inconvenience” to the public.
(Inputs from The Quint, The Indian Express and Times of India)