22:33 GMT26 January 2020
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    Food policing has become the order of the day in India. In the latest diktat reminiscent of the hardliner approach of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), the South Delhi Municipal Corporation has ordered food outlets to not display non-vegetarian items on their counters.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — South Delhi colonies including the Hauz Khas, New Friends' Colony, Kamal Cinema in Safdarjung, Green Park, Amar Colony Market near Lajpat Nagar and the Nizamuddin area host some of the most popular food joints that serve mouth-watering non-vegetarian delicacies attracting thousands of customers each day. However, the new diktat by the local body could mean that the eateries would no longer be able to entice people into teasing their taste buds with succulent kebabs stuck on skewers and tikkas spread on plates and put on display on counters outside the shops.

    "Hygiene and sentiments of people affected by the sight of meat were the main reasons behind the move," leader of the South Delhi municipal corporation Shikha Rai told the media.

    Eateries serving non-vegetarian delicacies passed over from one generation to the other since the Mughal era have staunch patrons in Delhi who have opposed the move as a "ridiculous gimmick."

    The opposition Congress Party has also criticized the move, calling it an attack on Democracy and Freedom. The proposal of the municipal corporation is being criticized by the opposition, medical fraternity and the social media is ridiculing the BJP rule as an attack on their freedom and democracy.

    "This is interference in people's personal lives," Abhishek Dutt, leader of the opposition Congress in the municipality told the media.

    The policy has encountered strong opposition from the Indian Medical Association, which has contended that if hygiene was the issue, then vegetarian and non-vegetarian food need not be discriminated.

    "We do not find any rationale behind the move that prohibits the display of only non-vegetarian food outside shops and restaurants. If contamination of food is the concern then why keep out vegetarian food, and snacks out of this order," IMA President K K Aggarwal told the PTI.

    This is just one in a series of food policing attempts by multiple authorities ever since the BJP came to power in 2014.  Eateries serving Biryani (rice cooked with meat and spices) in the adjoining state of Haryana were recently raided by police to check if they were serving beef. In 2015, the Haryana government passed a law that made the sale of beef a non-cognizable offense.

    In July this year, the National carrier Air India executed a meat ban on domestic flights, quoting a price cut and need to curb the waste  of food. Earlier in May, students of the Indian Institute of Technology allegedly roughed-up fellow students for taking part in a "beef fest" rally. Recently, the state government of Gujarat was in the news for its comments in favor of making the state a completely one.

    The worst case of food policing was, however, the lynching of a Muslim man in 2015 by a mob in Noida adjoining Delhi on suspicion of cooking cow meat. It was later proved by forensic experts that the meat he possessed was not that of a cow. 


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    Meat, kebab, Food, Beef, Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), India, Delhi
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