The Shiv Sena and another outfit have claimed to have forcibly shut around 400 meat and chicken shops at different locations in Gurgaon on Wednesday, demanding that they remain closed during Navaratri.
Chief of Shiv Sena's Gurgaon unit Gautam Saini told news agency PTI that around 300 members of different so-called 'Hindu outfits' assembled at the Lord Shiva temple located at the Old Railway road on Wednesday morning and headed to different places to close meat shops.
Locals claimed a group of Sena workers assembled at Palam Vihar on Wednesday and forcibly shut down meat markets in Surat Nagar, Ashok Vihar, Sector 5 and 9, Pataudi Chowk, Jacobpura, Sadar Bazaar, Khandsa Anaj Mandi, Bus Stand, DLF area, Sohna and Sector 14.
They said 50 per cent of the shops are already closed amid fears of clashes as such exercise is launched every year around Navratri since the BJP came to power in 2014 at the Center and in Haryana.
Ritu Raj, the state president of a group which calls itself the 'Hindu Sena' said, "The Hindu organisations will continue their effort throughout Navratri. The next target is new Gurgaon where there are a large number of meat shops."
Majority of the meat sellers used blinds to cover their shops. However, the Shiv Sena and other similar outfits have threatened to close them down too, sellers said.
"We have requested and served notices to every meat selling outlet to shut shop during Navaratri. This time we have not served notices to restaurants, like KFC and other chains, as them serving chicken cannot be seen in the open," Shiv Sena's Gurgaon in-charge Sanjay Thakral told news agency PTI.
The party workers have also asked owners of non-vegetarian food outlets to shut shop during the nine-day festival.
"We have requested every meat shop owner to close their outlets. Sixty shops have been shut. If the rest 940 shops remain open, then we will have no option but to forcefully shut them down like we did in the previous couple of years," Mr Thakral threatened.
There are nearly 1,000 meat and chicken shops in Gurugram.
A dispute emerged during the march by workers of the so-called 'Hindu outfits' on Wednesday morning to close the shops and local police arrested some of the leaders.
"We have arrested four leaders of Hindu organisations during the march. An FIR has been registered against them under relevant sections of the IPC for disturbing peace. Further investigation is underway," Gurgaon police PRO Subhash Bokan said.
Asked if the meat shops were forcibly shut, DCP (crime) Sumit Kuhar said, "We are looking into the matter. No one is authorised to take law in their hands. We will not let anyone forcibly close down meat shops during Navaratri. If anyone wants to voluntarily close his shop, then it is up to them. We have directed all city SHOs to keep a watch on the situation."
He said aggrieved persons must file police complaints in this regard.
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