Don’t eat that. We will dictate what you eat!

Madhya Pradesh Government’s recent order is just an extension of BJP’s core ideological belief.

Mohan Yadav was selected by the BJP high command to become the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh after the party won in a landslide in the recently concluded Assembly Elections. Although considered as a surprise pick, Mohan Yadav made headlines across the country just after his first cabinet meeting. In the cabinet meeting, it was decided that the sale of meat and eggs in the open would be banned in the state. As of now, there is some ambiguity in what is considered as ‘open’ and how the ‘openness’ of meat and eggs sale can be avoided.

The Madhya Pradesh Government has announced that it would run an awareness campaign explaining the order to the public and educate them about the new restrictions. But there are some news reports that suggest that some shops were already demolished for ‘openly’ selling meat. In Madhya Pradesh, 30% of children below 5 years of age are stunted, 20% wasted and 30% are underweight as per the recent National Family Health Survery (NFHS-5). The report also points out that around 50% of all women in the state in the age group of 15-49 are anaemic. To be fair, the national average is around the same as well.

Instead of addressing these core issues, the BJP Government has been keen on what people eat. Beef has been their problem for quite some time now which has resulted in several mob lynching incidents and cow vigilantism. The BJP has been enforcing beef ban in many of the states under its control except for some north eastern states where it sings a different tune. Hence the popular perception has always been that the BJP has problems only with beef. But this recent order has made many realise that the BJP is not okay with meat in general or even eggs.

Recently we came across a video in which a meat shop was attacked by a mob of self-appointed Hindu vigilantes in Haryana, another BJP ruled state. They took offense because the shop’s banner mentioned “Hindus’ favourite meat shop”. When we reached out to the shop owner, he said that the vandals calmed down after he identified himself as a Hindu and he would take down the banner. This is something that is not just limited to the Hindutva rhetoric in political sphere and in some conservative societies. There is a segregation of meat eaters even in the elite institutions of the country. We are numbed by regular classifieds in newspapers and advertisement boards that specify “Veg only” to a point where we don’t even see that as a problem. Though the number of meat eaters are steadily going up, the Hindutva narrative desires to dictate otherwise.

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Ramasamy Jayaprakash

Ramasamy works as a Senior Sub-Editor at YouTurn and writes articles in Tamil and English. He also makes videos for YouTurn's Tamil & English YouTube channels.
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