The shops selling meat in Gurgaon will remain closed on Tuesdays, according to the recent order issued by the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) in its house meeting on Thursday, March 18.
The MCG, in its meeting, authorised the proposal seeking to double the licence fee for meat shops from ₹5,000 to ₹10,000. It also raised the penalty for unlawfully operating such shops from ₹500 to ₹5,000, The Indian Express reported.
The decision to prohibit the selling of meat on Tuesdays was taken in response to suggestions from some councillors who cited "Hindu sentiments".
Mayor Madhu Azad supported the proposal and stated, "They are completely right, we are all agreed that meat shops remain closed on Tuesdays."
However, MCG commissioner Vinay Pratab Singh specified that food is an independent choice and said views on when to eat non-vegetarian food could not be enforced.
"In my opinion, this is an individual choice. I eat, my wife doesn't eat, it is independent. I cannot force her, and she cannot force me. When we cannot decide on this at home itself, the House should think before making any decision regarding the entire city," said Singh during the meeting,'' he added.
After a tense debate in which some councillors demanded that the licence fee be set as high as ₹50,000, the decision to double the licence fee for meat shops and increase the penalty for unauthorised shops was taken.
The MCG Commissioner recommended adhering to a "reasonable" increase instead of increasing the fee to the point that everything shuts.
He proposed the fine should be increased from ₹500 to ₹5,000.
In his address after the meeting, Singh said that along with increasing the fees for selling meat licences, the penalty imposed on those selling meat unlawfully was also raised.
"Shops that are penalised three times will be sealed. If the owners are found to have broken the seal, an FIR will be filed against them," he added.
Ashish Singla, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the MCG, claimed at the meeting that the civic body began issuing meat shop licences in 2017.
"In that year, we had issued 129 licences, most in commercial areas. After March 2018, we have not issued any new licences," he said.
As per an MCG official, the request to double the licence fee for meat shops was made solely to "increase revenue" for the MCG.
Besides that, meat shop owners worry that the decisions will leave them stranded at a time when "there isn't a lot of work, to begin with."
Pritam Bhagat of the Jacobpura Meat Market Association said ₹10,000 is a substantial amount considering that the licence must be renewed every year.
"Members of one community may not consume meat on Tuesdays, but we still get business from other communities. It's a big loss for us. We will have to follow the rules and manage somehow," he added.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday slammed the MCG for its decision.
"How can beliefs get hurt by what other people are doing in their private lives? People are buying, selling or eating meat, they're not forcing you to partake. By this logic, close alcohol shops on Friday? Meat is food for millions of Indians. Cannot treat it as something impure," wrote the AIMIM chief on Twitter.