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Arunachal Order against “Beef” signboards paused after protests

Rahul Chandra in Itanagar : An order asking all hotels and restaurants within the Itanagar Capital Region to remove signboards displaying “beef” by Monday or face a fine of ₹ 2,000 and cancellation of their trade licence has been put on hold until further notice, officials in Arunchal Pradesh said on Saturday.

Following widespread protests, including from the Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the notification of the Executive Magistrate of Naharlagun – who oversees the Itanagar Capital Region – has been kept in “abeyance”, an official said.

“We have received several representations from various quarters regarding seeking an extension of the timeline for compliance. Various organisations and individuals expressed their diverse opinion and objections to the order. Considering the representations, the order dated July 13 is hereby kept in abeyance till further order,” the official said.

As soon as the Naharlagun Executive Magistrate’s order went viral on social media, it was met with an outpouring of anger from individuals and groups that called it “needless”.

Naharlagun’s Executive Magistrate Tamo Dada in a notification on July 13 had said that the district administration of Itanagar Capital Region believes in the secular spirit of the Indian Constitution but such open display of the word “beef” on the signboards of hotels and restaurants may hurt the sentiments of some sections of the community and may create animosity between the different groups.

The Arunachal Pradesh unit of the National People’s Party alleged that the order had been issued “with the intention of evoking unrest, contrary to its claim of appeasing sentiments”.

Arunachal Pradesh State Jana Parishad President Lacthman Dass in a letter to the Executive Magistrate said that citizens of Arunachal Pradesh have been consuming beef since time immemorial, but the issue has never hurt the sentiments of anyone from any community. Jana Parishad called for withdrawal of the district administration’s order.

“In fact, your sudden and surprising order has created restlessness in the minds of different groups of people in the state, especially in the capital region. The word secularism has nothing to do with the word beef written on signboards. Rather, the order you have passed has created chaos in the minds of different people,” the Jana Parishad leader said.

Youth Congress also reacted to the district administration’s order, and called for a withdrawal.