The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to ban the sale of liquor and meat in the holy city of Mathura. The Yogi Adityanath-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Uttar Pradesh imposed a complete liquor ban in parts of Mathura on Tuesday. The ban is said to have been imposed in Mathura's Barsana, Baldev, Gokul, Govardhan, Nandgaon, Radha Kund areas.
Responding to the recent news, BJP leader, Shrikant Sharma said, "We will try to impose meat and liquor ban in religious areas. While there was already a ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in Vrindavan, it was decided at Tuesday's cabinet meeting that the prohibition would be extended to the Govardhan, Radhakund, Nandgaon, Gokul and Baldev Nagar panchayat areas."
The areas where the ban is imposed were declared as holy sites on March 22, 2018, by the religious affairs department.
The decision came after Hindu religious groups pressurised the government to impose the ban, which is in effect in Vrindavan and Barsana since October 2017.
The government is yet to decide if there will be a blanket ban on meat since Mathura houses a significant Muslim population as well. This could not only affect their lifestyle but also their business since a majority of the Muslim population is engaged in the sale and trade of non-vegetarian food.
Local Hindus in Mathura have welcomed this ban, hailing the move as a religiously and a socially sound decision. However, there is also a fear of riots in the city if local businesses are hit by the ban.
As per the government, there are 32 liquor shops in the five areas, and they would be shifted with help from the government so as to minimise the loss of income. Plan for the meat stores, however, was not made public.
Mathura is the birthplace of the Hindu deity Krishna. Vrindavan is the city where Krishna is said to have lived, while Barsana is where Radha, a close friend of Krishna's was raised. As a result, all three cities house several important temples and are considered very holy places by Hindus.
With inputs from ANI.