"This is an election gimmick of the BJP."
A city in India has been ordered to remove all of the non-vegetarian food stalls from its main roads by the authorities.
Ahmedabad has become the fourth city in Gujarat to have this rule imposed recently alongside Vadodara, Rajkot and Bhavnagar.
Ahmedabad’s Municipal Corporation (AMC) said that hawkers must not be within a 100-metre radius of schools, colleges and places of worship as of Monday, November 15, 2021.
The AMC’s town planning committee chairman, Devang Dani said:
“The smell near these stalls could be nauseating to the extent that one had to cover one’s nose.”
Meanwhile, authorities in Vadodara and Rajkot have said that meat and eggs must be covered as to not “hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus”.
Vadodara Municipal Corporation standing committee’s chairman Hitendra Patel added:
“The practice of displaying meat, fish, and eggs at stalls might have continued for several years but it was time to end it.”
Gujarat is one of the wealthiest in the nation and is ruled by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
However, Gujarat’s BJP spokesperson Yamal Vyas noted:
“It’s not the BJP’s decision. It’s a decision by the respective municipal corporation.
“Party as a whole has not taken any stand on this issue.”
Gujarat’s Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel said:
“It is not a question of vegetarian and non-vegetarian. People are free to eat whatever they want.”
“But the food being sold at stalls should not be harmful and the stalls should not obstruct traffic flow.”
Opposition party, Gujarat Congress, stated that the BJP are trying to divert the public’s attention from the real issues.
Spokesperson Manish Doshi told Al Jazeera:
“BJP has failed on the promises it made to people – be it employment or clean water.
“The main agenda of the BJP is to create polarisation by raising such non-issues.
“It should be left to an individual what he wants to eat, drink and wear.
“It’s a personal choice and the government should not impose that on people.
“This is an election gimmick of the BJP. It is very dangerous for our democracy.”
Some also mentioned that the move will disproportionately hurt the poor and benefit multinational companies, adding that it is against the Street Vendors Act 2014.
Others noted how those who sell meat tend to be from minority communities in India such as Muslims, people from ‘lower castes’ and indigenous people.
The news of comes ahead of the assembly elections in Gujarat in 2022, a state has been ruled by the BJP for 25 years.
Non-vegetarian eateries in India, especially in BJP governed areas, have faced increasing pressure from the party and Hindu supremacist groups affiliated to it.