At least 200 shops selling meat and chicken in the New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon were forced to down shutters Wednesday by a group of Hindu right-wing activists, another incident of religious scuffles about meat-eating in the country.
Members of the Shiv Sena group said the shops should close to respect the sentiments of Hindus during the nine-day festival of Navratri.
During the festival, dedicated to god Ram, devout Hindus fast and abstain from eating meat, fish and poultry.
The Shiv Sena's move comes amid a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh state, where a Hindu religious leader has taken over as chief minister.
Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states have also started similar crackdowns, India Today television reported.
All five states are governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which also runs the federal government.
Haryana, where Gurgaon is located, bordering the Indian capital, also has a BJP government.
An official at the Gurgaon Police Control room said they had received no formal complaint of forcible shutting of shops.
‘Everything was done peacefully, and the shop owners complied with requests willingly,’ Ritu Raj, spokesman of the Gurgaon Shiv Sena wing said.
‘We have asked all eateries and raw meat and chicken outlets that serve non-vegetarian food, including KFC, to keep their shops shut during Navratri.’ Hindus comprise almost 80 per cent of India's population, but not all of them are vegetarians. Members of other faiths, such as the Muslim minority, sometimes run afoul of hardline Hindus because they do not abstain from meat.
A rough calculation based on a 2014 survey by the government's census bureau indicates that only about 28.5 per cent of Indians are vegetarian.
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