Authorities in the western Indian state of Gujarat have ordered the removal of non-vegetarian food shops along the main road in Ahmedabad. In recent times, such instructions have been issued in four cities of the state.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation said on Monday that non-vegetarian food stalls would be removed from the road within 100 meters of schools, colleges and religious places.
Devang Dani, chairman of the corporation’s town planning committee, told ANI that the order would take effect on Tuesday.
Earlier, similar measures were taken in Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Junagadh.
Gujarat is one of the richest states in India. It is the birthplace of the country’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has been the Prime Minister for almost 13 years since 2014.
The municipal administration in Vadodara and Rajkot has instructed shopkeepers and hawkers to cover non-vegetarian food including eggs. Their comment, ‘It could hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus’.
Hitendra Patel, chairman of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation’s standing committee, was quoted in local media as saying that fish, meat and egg stalls have been running for many years, but now is the time to end them. At the same time, the smoke from these places is a risk factor for public health.
Incumbent Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said on Monday that the issue was not a matter of banning vegetarian or non-vegetarian food. “People can eat whatever they want,” he told reporters. But the food that is sold in the stalls will not be harmful and will not be a hindrance to the movement of vehicles due to these stalls.
In Gujarat, BJP spokesperson Yamal Vias claimed that the decision was taken by the municipal corporation, not the party. “This is not a BJP decision,” he told Al Jazeera. This is the decision of the Municipal Corporation … The party has no position on this. One thing is for sure, these stalls will not be a hindrance to traffic. BJP has no objection to non-vegetarian food. We object to foods that are not healthy. ‘
Meanwhile, the BJP’s strategy is to divert people’s attention from the remarks of the opposition Congress, unemployment and inflation.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi told Al-Jazeera that the BJP had failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs or clean water for the people. The main agenda of the BJP is to polarize on such unimportant issues.
Doshi said the ban on non-vegetarian food stalls in Gujarat was a form of “electoral manipulation” by the BJP to increase religious divisions in the state.
The Congress leader said, “What one eats, drinks or wears should be left to him. This is his personal choice. The government cannot impose this on the people. This is BJP’s electoral fraud. This is terrible for our democracy. ”
Assembly elections in Gujarat next year. The BJP government has been in power in the state for more than 25 years.
Non-vegetarians are under pressure from the BJP and its allied Hindu groups in various states, especially in the BJP-ruled states.
Shamsad Pathan, a politician with the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in Gujarat, told Al Jazeera that the decision would hurt the poor. This is the BJP’s ‘secret agenda’ to make multinational corporations profitable.
Pathan said most of the non-vegetarian food vendors in Gujarat are either Muslims, Dalits or tribals. This has been done in the interest of big corporations by targeting them.