22 wards notified as ‘Holy Shrine’
Express News, Mathura
The Uttar Pradesh government has notified 22 out of 70 wards of Mathura-Vrindavan Municipal Corporation as ‘holy pilgrimage sites’, thus banning the sale of non-vegetarian food and liquor in an area of about 10 sq km. Officials from the district magistrate’s office are rushing to implement the decision.
The ongoing discussions in the predominantly Muslim and Dalit communities reflect the confusion and uncertainty. Citizens are trying to find their place in the map of Mathura Municipal Corporation with a population of more than 4 lakhs.
‘Today everyone is trying to find their ward number. It didn’t make any difference in the past, ‘said Naushad Alam, who runs a non-vegetarian shop in the Muslim-majority Bharatpur ward. The previous evening, a large number of police arrived and ordered the market to be closed and the nameplate to be taken down. “We have no choice now,” Alam said.
The butchers held a meeting on Saturday to discuss the government notification. The government order is violating the constitution. Earlier in 2017, the Uttar Pradesh government had tried to ban the sale of meat, but the Allahabad High Court had reminded the government not to do anything that would violate the fundamental rights of citizens, said Shakeel Hussain, who attended the meeting.