The Delhi Minorities Commission issued show-cause notices to the mayors and commissioners of the three municipal corporations of the national capital, asking for an explanation of their decision to order meat vendors to close shops during Navratri. The commission’s chairman, Zakir Khan, sought a detailed report within 24 h and asked the officials concerned to appear on Friday (tomorrow). Khan wrote: “… such proclamation can also incite and encourage hoggish behaviour on the ground. Senior authorities and the courts should step in and put a stop to such behaviour.”
On 5 April, the mayors of south and east Delhi had irked Muslims by asking meat shops in their respective jurisdictions to close during Navratri. The mayors said, “… most people do not consume non-vegetarian food during these days.” However, no official order was issued by the municipal corporations, which makes the notices by the Delhi Minorities Commission stand on thin ice.
East Delhi Mayor Shyam Sunder Aggarwal had issued a similar order to the Ghazipur slaughterhouse yesterday, asking it to close for the last three days of Navratri — 8, 9 and 10 April. He said the closure was a “routine, yearly exercise”.
South Delhi Mayor Mukesh Suryan threatened serious action if meat shops in the area did not close.
Technically, such decisions can only be taken by a municipal commissioner and not a mayor.
The Delhi Minorities Commission was set up under the Delhi Minorities Commission Act, 1999, passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly on 24 December 1999. The notified Minority Communities, as per the said law, are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis. To safeguard the rights and interests, as provided in the Constitution of India of religious minorities in the National Capital Territories of Delhi. As per the notification order dated 13 October 2008 by Chief Secretary, GNCT of Delhi, Jains are treated as a minority community too in the NCT of Delhi.
Opposition political leaders have raised their voices against the meat ban in the national capital. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah — in Delhi to explain to the Enforcement Directorate his alleged involvement in money laundering by Jammu and Kashmir Bank — said that “going by the same logic of the ‘majority’, everybody in J&K should be banned from eating in public during Ramzan”.