(G.N.S) Dt. 28
There has been a huge outcry against consumption of non-vegetarian food, especially beef in the last three years. Be it beef ban or the latest South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) ban on display of ‘non-veg food’ in the open, there have been numerous instances in the past three-and-a-half years which show the growing trend against consumption of ‘non-veg’ food. In fact, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had earlier said that those who eat beef should go to Pakistan.
The Sample Registration System Baseline Survey 2014 noted that close to 30 per cent people in India are vegetarians. The survey also revealed that the number of non-vegetarians in India has decreased from 75 per cent in 2004 to 71 per cent in 2014.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is under BJP’s control in the national capital, has proposed that all non-vegetarian food items cannot be displayed out in the open and should be kept inside shelves. The proposal was brought in during the last House meeting on December 20, and approved by Leader of House Shikha Rai. Rai said that the move was proposed to “maintain hygiene and to respect people’s sentiments since not everyone eats non-vegetarian food”.
Currently, the proposal is awaiting SDMC commissioner P K Goel’s approval, who will examine if the move is in accordance with the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act before making it a rule, Rai said. The proposal — a private member’s resolution — was first moved during a Health Committee meeting by Raj Dutt, a councillor from Kakrola village in the Najafgarh zone. “Seekh kebabs being displayed outside may get contaminated due to pollution. Also, there are many vegetarian people who feel bad seeing these items,” said Dutt.
South Delhi includes areas like Greater Kailash, Lajpat Nagar, Hauz Khas, Defence Colony and New Friends Colony. Skewers of meat and kebabs are a common sight at outdoor stalls and outside markets in these areas. The resolution is reported to come up for confirmation in the next session of the House on January 3.
The national carrier Air India had suspended serving non-vegetarian meals on its domestic flights in the economy class from July. The argument given by Air India at that time was that they had observed a trend where, over time, lesser passengers were preferring non-vegetarian food, which resulted in wastage of these meals on-board. “Air India has taken a conscious decision not to have non-vegetarian meals in economy class on its domestic flights to reduce wastage, reduce cost, and improve catering service,” airline’s spokesperson G Prasad Rao had said in July. This decision was taken with the expectation that it would cut costs to the tune of Rs 8-10 crore per annum.
In Haryana’s Mewat District, kiosks selling biryani were forced to shut down. Raids were conducted by the police after they received complaints that biryani containing beef (cow meat), was being sold in Mewat. In 2015, the Haryana government passed a law that made the sale of beef a non-cognisable offence.
In March, several students of IIT Madras were roughed up for taking part in the beef-fest organised in the campus. A group of 70 to 80 students held the beef festival on May 28 evening evening to demonstrate against the Centre’s notification on cattle sale rules. In a similar incident, students in Hyderabad’s Osmania University were arrested for organising a beef festival in the varsity.
In April, the Gujarat government amended the state’s Animal Preservation Bill to entail a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and a minimum of 10 years for cow slaughter after it was passed in the assembly in the absence of the Opposition Congress.
Speaking on the amendment, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that while he was “not against any food”, he wanted to make Gujarat “shakahari (vegetarian)”, “We do not want Jersey cows, but Gir and Kankreji cows instead,” he said.
Rupani also described Gujarat as a “unique state”, which followed the tenets of Mahatma Gandhi — “non-violence and truth”. “This is Gandhi’s Gujarat, Sardar’s (Vallabhbhai Patel) Gujarat and (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s Gujarat,” said Rupani. The passage of the Gujarat Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill, 2017 came eight months after seven Dalits were beaten by self-styled cow vigilantes for alleged cow slaughter in Una.