Arunachal: Order on removal of ‘beef’ from signboards in Itanagar put in abeyance

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Itanagar, July 17: The order directing all hotels and restaurants within the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR) to remove signboards displaying ‘beef’ by July 18 or else fine of Rs 2,000 would be imposed and their trade licence would be cancelled, has been kept in ‘abeyance’ until further notice, officials said on Saturday.

An official said that following protests and objections from many quarters and sections, including the Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), the notification of the Executive Magistrate of Naharlagun, where ICR falls, has been kept in ‘abeyance’ until further notice.

“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, people cutting across the party lines and cross-section of society and organisations vented their anger and said that it was a needless order.

The ACCI termed it unprecedented and unwelcome.

“On what basis did the magistrate issued this order?” ACCI Secretary General Toko Tatung asked.

He said that the majority of Hindu businessmen operating in the ICR over many years did not raise any issue regarding the word ‘beef’ used in the hotels and restaurants.

Tatung said that the business community is still struggling to recover from the economic effect of the Covid-19 induced lockdown, and that such a controversial order would hurt their efforts to recover.

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

Reacting to the district administration’s order, the Youth Congress requested it to revoke the same.

State Youth Congress President Tarh Johny 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.

“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 Youth Congress leader said.

The youth Congress urged the magistrate to withdraw the order “to avoid any kind of communal or religious conflicts in the coming days”.

The controversial order

Naharlagun’s Executive Magistrate Tamo Dada in a notification on July 13 had said that the district administration of ICR believes in the secular spirit of 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.

“Therefore, so as to maintain peace in the community and to continue the spirit of secularism and brotherhood within the community, I hereby direct all such hotels and restaurants, who have written the word beef on their signboards, to remove such word by July 18,” the notification said.

“Failing which, a fine of Rs 2,000 and cancellation of such trading licence will be initiated,” it added.

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