The Shiv Sainiks claimed the shops they shut down were operating without licences, but presented no evidence. Does KFC really not have a license? Image source: Twitter. Photograph: (Twitter)
They also want the shops shut on Tuesdays
Shiv Sena members allegedly forced more than 300 meat shops in Gurgaon's bustling Sector 14 to shut down, The Hindustan Times reports. This coincides with Navratri, a nine-day Hindu festival where followers eat only vegetarian food.
The shuttered shops include the popular American outlet, KFC. More, the men also want the area shops to be closed every Tuesday, a day when Hindus devotees are not supposed to eat meat.
A man named Ritu Raj, claiming to be the district spokesperson for the Shiv Sena, commented on the situation thusly: "A number of Hindus keep fast on Navratri and on Tuesday of every week. It does not feel good to see meat being sold and served on these days. Most of the shopkeepers have supported the move and we consulted those who resisted."
Raj claimed most of the shops his supporters forced to shutdown were "illegal", claiming they did not have the license to operate. Nowhere in the report was evidence of this presented. Raj also claimed that shops were sent prior notices, but provided no evidence of this to the Hindustan Times.
While surely there are some slaughterhouses operating without a permit, it is hard to imagine a franchise of an international chain like KFC being guilty of this.
WION contacted KFC in Gurgaon to see if they have a permit. They had not responded by the time of publication, and we will update the copy if they do.
A police spokesperson in Gurgaon said no complaint had been received, but that action would be taken if shops were being forces shut in violation of the norms, the Hindustan Times report says.
This anti-meat crusade comes at the same time as a meat strike in Uttar Pradesh (UP), with shopkeepers there in the country's largest meat-producing state claim they are being harassed by officials.
This meat strike, in turn, comes after the voting in of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) CM Yogi Adityanath, an aggressive supporter of hardline Hindutva.
The claim that the state's slaughterhouses are being shuttered and attacked because they are illegal is in dispute, as critics say it is designed to target Muslims, who make up the overwhelming majority of butchers in the state. Meat shops have been not just forced closed in UP over the past week, but burned down.