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Cong walkout over meat shops closure

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, JULY 4.

The entire Congress(I) group today staged a walk out during the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi here today after a BJP Councillor said the MCD civic body faced resistance in sealing of illegal meat shops ``only'' in those areas having sizable population of a ``particular community''.

Alleging the BJP was trying to give a communal colour to the entire controversy and a minority community was being blamed for it, the opposition Councillors demanded that the BJP member, Mr. Ramesh Mohan Chauhan, should take back his words.

Though the ruling BJP members insisted that he never identified a particular minority community and clarified that he meant the community of those selling meat through unlicensed shops, entire Congress(I) led by the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Ram Babu Sharma, walked out in protest.

``Today's event has proved that BJP is a communal party,'' Mr. Ram Babu alleged. ``We could not remain a mute spectator to a discussion where a particular community is being targetted,'' he said. The pandemonium occurred as Mr. Chauhan made the statement, during the discussion on Tuesday's Sadar Bazaar incident where a senior MCD Official was attacked and injured by an mob where his team had gone to seal unlicensed meat shops on the directive of the Delhi High Court.

Taking a serious view, the Standing Committee Chairman, Mr. Prithvi Raj Sawhney, alleged the area SHO was responsible for the incident as safety and security of MCD employees was endangered in his presence. Majority of the Councillors agreed with the view of Mr. Sawhney, and said that from now onwards adequate safety measure needed to be taken for such operations.

Replying to Councillors concern, the Municipal Commissioner, Mr. S.P. Aggarwal, said the matter has been taken up with Police Commissioner and a FIR has also been lodged. ``Some of the people responsible for such an incident have already been identified and strong action has been promised by them,'' he said.

He said the Delhi High Court would be informed about the incident and the constraints being faced by the civic body in implementing its directive, when the case comes for hearing on July 5.

According to Mr. Aggarwal, soon after the Court order on May 25 that all the illegal meat shops be sealed, the MCD in a survey identified as many as 2,656 such shops against whom action was to be taken. ``So far we have sealed 1,463 meat shops. As many as 821 of them have closed down voluntarily, while 80 of them had changed their trade. This left us with 292 meat shops which were to be sealed,'' he said.

Mr. Aggarwal conceded it was not only Sadar Bazaar alone, but also a number of other places where the MCD faced similar problems in implementing the directive of the Delhi High Court. It was following this observation, that Mr. Chauhan made such a remark.

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