Hindu Extremist Groups Target Meat Shops in Multiple Indian Cities

Incidents of forced closure, threats, and intimidation against meat shop owners persist as vigilante groups belonging to Hindu extremist organisations run a campaign against meat.

In recent weeks, several incidents involving Hindu extremist groups targeting meat shops have come to light in different parts of India. Most meat shops in India are generally owned by Muslims or Dalits. This targeting of small scale meat shops is a concerning trend in crimes against minorities and Dalits.

Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh

Members of the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal, an extremist  Hindu organisation, carried out raids on Muslim-owned meat shops, forcing them to shut down. A video recorded and uploaded by Hindutva Watch captures the unsettling scenes, where these individuals are seen entering the shops and coercing the owners to close their businesses.

Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

Local authorities in Ujjain attempted to close and remove Muslim meat shops, citing potential offence to the sentiments of Mahakal devotees. A video circulating on social media shows concerned civilians pleading with the officials, trying to negotiate against the closure of their shops. Some Muslim city council members arrived on the scene to oppose the move.

Najafgarh, Delhi

Members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad-Bajrang Dal visited multiple meat shops, asserting their authority and demanding compliance with the mandatory closure of shops on Tuesdays, claiming the need to honour “Hindu sentiments.” A video posted online reveals their “Jagrukta Abhyaan” or awareness campaign, with participation from the Parshad of the Roshanara ward, as they go around instructing shop owners to close their establishments.

Muzaffarpur, Bihar

Bajrang Dal members forcibly closed a meat shop and issued threats to shut down all such shops located near temples, schools, and hospitals. The incident, documented in a video, showcases the intimidation tactics employed by these individuals which ended up in closing the shops with use of violence despite opposition from the meat shop owners. A Bajrang Dal Zila Adhyaksh declared that all meat shops near schools and temples would be removed from the city, and that any offence or hurt against ‘Sanatani Sanskriti’ (Sanatani Culture) would not be tolerated, as Hindu samaj has come together.

These incidents reflect a disturbing trend that has gained momentum in the last few years. Measures targeting meat consumption, particularly in northern India, have witnessed a surge in recent years. Extremist Hindu groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, and Hindu Sena have taken a leading role in vigilante violence against these shops which are mostly owned by writing class Muslims and Dalits.

These incidents have occured in huge numbers. There have been high profile cases as well. For instance, in 2015 the Kerala State Bhawan in New Delhi was raided after a Hindu Sena members raised a huge and cry about beef being on the menu. Thereafter Vishnu Gupta, who was actually the chief of Hindu Sena, was arrested by Delhi Police for providing false information about beef being served at a restaurant in Kerala House. Gupta’s complaint had been what prompted a police raid on the government guest house of the state of Kerala. The restaurant clarified that the meat in question was buffalo, which had been legally obtained from a shop authorised by the Delhi government.

Further exacerbating tensions, in 2022, the Karnataka Police apprehended seven members of the Bajrang Dal following two incidents of assault related to the sale of halal meat in Bhadravathi town, Shivamogga district.

However, this phenomenon is not entirely new or a 21st century innovation. A detailed analysis by SabrangIndia notes how the Kerala High Court intervened by issuing a stay order on the Lakshadweep administration’s decision to close dairy farms on the islands and modify the midday meal diet for school children. The administration’s plan to auction off the animals and exclude chicken, beef, and other meat from the menu faced considerable opposition from the local population. Furthermore, the exclusion of eggs in midday meals at the expense of children’s health has been an alarming development in this regard.

In fact, in the mid-1990s to early 2000s in Gujarat, Dalit and Muslim mothers were warned against including boiled eggs in their children’s lunchboxes. This was highlighted in a cover story on Gujarat titled Face to Face with Fascism by Teesta Setalvad. The article explained how the RSS-BJP-VHP alliance deliberately stirred controversy around slaughter during Bakri Eid since 1997. Waljibhai Patel, an advocate for Dalits and minorities in the Gujarat High Court through the Council for Social Justice (CSJ), explained that Jains, despite being only 0.2% of the population, wielded significant wealth and influence. This led to an outcry during Bakri Eid, which coincides with Mahavir Jayanti, and a two-week demand to close slaughterhouses. Patel questioned the survival of the majority of the population, which includes SCs, STs, and religious minorities who consume beef. The CSJ challenged the state’s authority to dictate dietary choices and even protested against attempts to close restaurants during Ramadan in 1997.

In 1997, the Gujarat High Court ordered the reopening of slaughterhouses following a writ petition. However, the influential Jain lobby raised the same demand the following year when the BJP was in power. The CSJ once again approached the court, and the High Court directed the slaughterhouses to remain open for the entire fortnight, with exceptions for the first and last days. This clampdown of meat-eating targeted both Dalits and minorities in Gujarat, a state known for its hard-line Hindutva politics.

In May 2017, the central government attempted to impose a complete ban on the slaughter of cattle, including cows, buffaloes, bullocks, calves, and camels. However, the Supreme Court stayed this decision as it affected the livelihoods of those involved in the leather, tanning, and meat production industries.

India has consistently witnessed the politicisation of food whether it is related to midday meals for underprivileged children in government run schools or the dinner spread at the home of ordinary citizens.


Hindu Janjagran Manch Leader Delivers Hate Speech, Advocates Economic Boycott of Muslims

“No harm caused by thirty minutes of Namaz, won’t inconvenience anyone”: Madras HC

Maharashtra: Threats of violence made, anti-Muslim insults used at the Hindu Janakroash Morcha in Malegaon

2023 Karnataka assembly elections: what has BJP lost and what has it gained?



Related Articles