Mathura, 2015.04.19 (Siraj Qureshi, India Today): MP Hema Mailni has written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav demanding an immediate ban on the sale of alcohol and meat in the entire Braj region. The actress-turned-politician has also demanded that the Braj region be declared a ‘dry zone’ inside Uttar Pradesh, with its limits encompassing Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Goverdhan and Barsana.
The Braj region of Uttar Pradesh is known as a prime religious destination in India, with thousands of temples dedicated to Lord Krishna dotting its landscape. Thousands of pilgrims arrive here daily to offer their prayers to the 9th incarnation of Vishnu and are faced with the unwelcome sights of liquor and meat shops, both of which are proscribed for devotees. There have been several demonstrations in Mathura against the sale of these items in the municipal limits, but to no avail.
Taking matters in her own hands now, Malini cited the British period regulations proscribing the hunting of birds in this region. “Government records show that the British-era rules are being followed and meat is not being sold in Mathura and the rest of the Braj, while the reality is that both meat and liquor are being openly sold even near the religious sites. The Uttar Pradesh government should immediately take action against the meat and liquor shops and shut them down, besides declaring Braj a dry zone,” she said.
Social activist Md Imraan supported Hema Malini’s demand claiming that in the spirit of communal harmony and to protect the religious sentiments of the Hindus, open sale of meat and liquor should immediately banned in the region. “When an entire state (Gujarat) can be declared a dry state, there should be no problem for the UP government to declare Braj a dry zone. Both open sale of meat around Hindu religious sites and sale of liquor near the Muslim sites in the uniquely dual-natured city can give rise to communal tension, which will be harmful for the atmosphere of the entire state. The state government will do well to adhere to the British-era regulation preventing the sale of meat and alcohol in Mathura and nearby religious towns,” he said.
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