08, Apr 2019 | SabrangIndia Staff
Two Hindu Sena members were arrested for allegedly forcing meat shop owners to shut their businesses in view of the Navratri festival, a Gurugram police official from Haryana state said on Sunday. “Rakesh and Pramod (Singh) along with 40 other members of the Hindu Sena have been booked for threatening meat shop owners with dire consequences for opening their businesses. They were marching on streets holding batons, hockey sticks, swords and iron rods in their hands,” DCP Sumer Singh said.
In CCTV footage, they could be seen pulling down shutters of meat shops and threatening their owners, he said. Police identified the arrested men as Rajesh alias Cheeka and Pramod – both residents of Dundahera. The Haryana unit of the Hindu Sena confirmed that they belong to the organisation.
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Over 200 Hindu Sena activists on Saturday marched towards many places in Gurgaon, including Palam Vihar, Badshahpur and Om Vihar, and forcibly shut 250 meat shops, he said. The viral video of this incident was circulating on social media which led to their identification.
“The Hindu organisations would continue with their efforts throughout Navaratri as the opening of meat shops during the festival could hurt religious sentiments of Hindus,” said Ritu Raj, the president of Hindu Sena.
He said they visited sectors 4,5,7,9, 10, 21, 22, Palam Vihar, Badshahpur, Om Vihar, Surat Nagar, Sadar Bazar, Anaj Mandi Dhanwapur, Dundahera, Molaheda, Sikandarpur and many other places in Haryana.
He claimed that about half of the shops were already closed as the exercise has been taking place since 2014. Around 50 per cent of shops were already closed fearing clashes, as meat shops were shut during every Navratri since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in the Centre and in Haryana, he added.
“We had closed 180 to 200 shops on Saturday. This is actually the job of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG), police, and the health department. These shops are illegal, but because they are not doing their work, we have to take to the streets to do it for them,” he said in a report by The Indian Express.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Birem Singh said six people have been named in the complaint, while at least 25 people are unidentified, reported Hindustan Times. “We are trying to identify people from the video,” Singh said. “Police are probing if the said meat shops had obtained licences. However, people cannot take the law into their hands and force the closure of shops by brandishing weapons.”
Police said a case was registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code, including rioting, unlawful assembly and criminal intimidation, and the Arms Act on Sunday.
This is not the first time meat shop owners are being forced to shut shop during Navratri. Last October, Hindu outfits, under the banner of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samiti, had fanned out across Gurgaon and “appealed” to owners to close their stores, the IE report said.
With the 9-day Chaitra Navratri festival starting on Saturday, Hindu organisations forcibly shut around 180 meat and chicken shops at different locations of Gurugram, demanding they remain closed during the festival.
In Loni, Ghaziabad, barely 50 kms away from Gurugram, more meat shops were being forced to down shutters. The BJP MLA from Loni, Ghaziabad, who went around the area Saturday night telling people to shut meat shops in areas near temples, said opening such shops was “rashtradroh,” Indian Express reported.
“Meat shops were opened near temples in Loni. It is illegal and amounts to rashtradroh. None of this would have been possible without the connivance of local officials,” MLA Nand Kishor Gurjar said, the report noted.
In 2017, the UP government had come out with guidelines that said meat shops will not be allowed within a 50-metre radius of a religious place.
“Navratri has begun and it is absolutely wrong to continue the slaughter. Tomorrow if there is tension in the area because of this, who will be responsible?” Gurjar said in the report.
BJP media in-charge in Ghaziabad Pradeep Chaudhary said in the report that he was not aware of the incident. “If the MLA did it, it must have been his own agenda. We are not aware of this,” he said.
Featured Image: Representational Image (credit: Hindustan Times)
This has been previously posted on SabrangIndia.