Kebabs and shawarma are commonly displayed outside eateries across South Delhi. (Representational)
In a month, the sight of kebabs on skewers or raw fish outside shops in south Delhi may be gone. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation or SDMC, which is ruled by the BJP, has ordered eateries to keep all meat, raw or cooked, out of sight for the sake of hygiene and "sentiment".
"Sentiments of people are affected by the sight," said Leader of the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Shikha Rai, defending the move that was approved in a recent meeting.
According to the civic body, the ban was proposed by a councillor from Najafgarh near the outskirts of Delhi.
Nandini Sharma, a councillor who backed the proposal in the house, said there was no new law. "The Act already says meat should not be exposed to public view, food should not be exposed to dust and flies or any contamination," she told NDTV.
Kebabs and shawarma are commonly displayed outside eateries and restaurants across south Delhi. If the ban is enforced, they will not be allowed to even roast or skewer non-vegetarian food outside their shops.
"We are not stopping anyone from stocking meat, only exposing or displaying it," Ms Sharma said, adding, "Anyway food is not supposed to be cooked on the streets."
The proposal has drawn sharp reactions.
Abhishek Dutt, Congress councillor and leader of his party in the South Delhi civic body, called it "interference in people's personal lives".
Stating that his party had opposed it, Mr Dutt fumed: "Just because the BJP has a majority in the House it cannot make such dictatorial decisions. If it's related to hygiene they should challan those flouting rules. What is the need for bringing in such a blanket ban."
The Indian Medical Association pointed out that food has to be hygienic, be it vegetarian or non-vegetarian.
"We do not find any rational behind the move that prohibits display of only non-vegetarian food outside shops, restaurants. If contamination of food is the concern then why keep out vegetarian food and snacks out of this order," said the association's President KK Aggarwal.