Hindutva Outfits Forcefully Shut Meat Shops During Navratri in Several Cities
Though the police have seen the video of the incident in Faridabad, they are yet to identify the group of men.
As the country celebrates Navratri festival from 7 October to 15 October this year, videos from the past few days, showing members of several Hindutva outfits forcefully shutting down meat shops in states such as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana, have surfaced online.
In one of the videos posted on Twitter on Wednesday, 13 October, members of the 'Hindu Army' could be seen roaming around in the meat market at Som Bazaar, Najafgarh, Delhi, after claiming to have forcibly shut down 'one to two' meat shops.
In the video, a man can be heard greeting a passer-by with 'Jai Shri Ram' and 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."
"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," the man said.
Vishnu Gupta, the president of the Hindu Sena, later confirmed to The Quint that members of the local unit of the group had visited the market.
"Last year, we did this in Gurugram and the video went viral. We keep doing this. We want that Hindu tyohar pe shanti bani rahe... (Peace should be maintained on Hindu festivals)," said Aman Kumar, who heads the Najafgarh unit of the Hindu Sena.
Meanwhile, Shankar Chaudhary, DCP Dwarka, told The Quint, "In this regard, it is submitted that the video tweeted is from Tuesday and of the meat market Najafgarh, opposite Don Bosco School. This market remains closed on Tuesday. In the video, no shop is being closed by anyone as the shops are already closed. Further, no complaints or PCR (Police Control Room) calls were received in the matter."
In another case, in a Facebook live broadcast done from Faridabad, which has since gone viral, a group of men claiming to be from the Bajrang Dal, are seen coercing meat shops to shut. The Facebook broadcast was done by a Bajrang Dal member named Jeet Vashisth on 7 October, who is heard saying that he had permission from the police commissioner to get the shops closed.
Though the police have seen the video of the incident, they are yet to identify the group of men featuring in it.
The SHO of Mujesar police station, Sandeep Kumar, told The Indian Express 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 scenes can be witnessed in another series of videos from Palwal, posted by Vikram Singh, who claims to be the district vice-president of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal.
He said in his post in Hindi, “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 police officer was quoted by The Indian Express saying that a group of more than seven men had gathered and were asking a shopkeeper to shut his meat shop.
"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,” the officer said, as quoted by The Indian Express.
In another video by one Ved Nagar, he can be heard saying that not one meat shop should be open in India. He adds, “If you see a meat shop open, call police, inform your district authorities and teach them about Mata Rani’s Navratri.”
He added that it is up to the people from the ‘Sanatani Dharam’ to take the responsibility of closing such shops. He further claims that anyone who tries to open his shop on Navratri will go to jail.
Earlier, on 5 October, several outfits under the banner of Samyukta Hindu Sangharsh had written to Gurugram deputy commissioner seeking directions to shut all meat shops during the festival.
Rajiv Mittal, a spokesperson for the group, 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”, Times of India reported.
The group also raised “concern” over namaz being offered in public spaces, saying that it causes “inconvenience” to the public.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and The Times of India.)
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