Guwahati: The administration for Arunachal Pradesh’s Itanagar Capital Complex district issued a controversial order directing hotels and restaurants in Naharlagun subdivision to desist from using “beef” on their signboards, but later withdrew it.
Naharlagun is among the three subdivisions that fall under the Itanagar Capital Complex (ICR) jurisdiction.
In his 13 July order, Naharlagun executive magistrate Tamo Dada said it was brought to the notice of the administration that numerous hotels and restaurants had come up with signboards of “beef”. This had resulted in the directive to these commercial establishments. But, in the evening of 15 July, the administration issued another order putting on hold the directive that asked hotels and restaurants to remove the signboards.
ThePrint has copies of both the orders.
In its latest directive, the Naharlagun administration mentioned that it received “representation from various quarters” regarding the 13 July order. The administration also took into account the compliance reports of the previous order as well as the request from various quarters for extension of timeline of compliance, it said.
“Considering above representation, the 13 July order is hereby kept in abeyance till further order,” the order added.
According to the previous order, hotels and restaurants failing to comply would have to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 and also lose their trade licence.
“Whereas, district administration of ICR believes in the secular spirit of our Indian Constitution, but such open display of word beef in the signboards of such hotels and restaurants may hurt the sentiments of some sections of the community and may create animosity between different groups of community,” the order read.
Dada had told ThePrint that the directive was a “preventive order” made following a “verbal complaint” by “local Hindus” in the area. “They approached saying that following the lockdown, there has been a mushrooming of hotels. Whenever they go outside in the morning or evening, it hurts their sentiments,” he said.
Currently, Arunachal Pradesh — led by Chief Minister Pema Khandu of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — has no laws against the consumption or sale of beef.
Earlier, a district official said the local residents are not on the same page with the administration in this matter. “There are complaints over the removal of signboards. People are not at all agreeing with this because Arunachal people eat beef,” the official said.
Congress state president Nabam Tuki claimed that such a situation had never happened earlier in Arunachal. “Tribal people are mostly meat-eaters. There is no such law in the state. Liking or disliking meat consumption is a personal choice. People will not agree with this. Our tribal people will not agree, (as) all eat beef,” the Sagalee MLA said.
Meat, including beef, is consumed widely in the northeast region. Mithun, a large bovine, is reared for its milk and meat in Arunachal. In 2017, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had acknowledged that beef is an integral part of the people’s diet in the northeast.
In 2021, Meghalaya minister Sanbor Shullai said everybody is free to eat whatever they want in a democratic country. The BJP, which stresses worship of cows in line with Hindu beliefs, has said time and again that it doesn’t seek to impose any beef ban in the northeast.
(Edited by Tony Rai)