BJP's food policing continues; only veg food at UP's annual IAS event

BJP has made food habits a part of its politics, with a slew of bans ranging from beef consumption, to crackdown on slaughter houses and even describing non veg as bad choice of food

Bureaucrats who relish non-veg food were left disappointed at an annual event chaired by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow on Thursday.

The non-vegetarian dishes were struck off the menu for lunch and dinner on first day of the Indian Administrative Service week which began on Thursday in UP capital. Notably, this is for the first time that fish, mutton, chicken were not the part of the menu at the annual event.

This new development, according to an official, was “keeping in mind the likes and dislikes” of Chief Minister Adityanath, who is a vegetarian.

“In the dinner served at the 2016 IAS week at the Raj Bhawan hosted by Governor Ram Naik, it was a sumptuous spread of Avadh non-vegetarian cuisine. This time, however, the bureaucrats missed it, News agency IANS quoted an official as saying.

Also Read: Amid uproar over Alwar lynching episode, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat pitches for all-India ban on cow slaughter

In the past, at all occasions where the head of the government or of the state attended the event, non-vegetarian dishes were always served, the report said.

Twitter was quick to react to the report and slammed the BJP government for imposing its food choices on others.


The ruling dispensations penchant for imposing its choices seems to have gone a bit too far. Bharatiya Janata Party has made food habits a part of its politics, with a slew of bans ranging from beef consumption , to crackdown on slaughter houses and even describing non veg as bad choice of food in text books.

Cattle slaughter ban

Cattle slaughter ban (Photo: Pixabay)

Cattle trade ban

Earlier in May, Centre banned the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across the country. The cattle can only be purchased for agricultural activities. “Cattle” in the notification includes bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves, as well as camels. Centre’s move sparked protests in many parts of the country, notably in Kerala, West Bengal and Meghalaya where cow slaughter is permitted.

Crackdown on Slaughter houses

It’s not simply a coincidence that as many as 6 BJP governments — beginning with Uttar Pradesh and followed by Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh — have chosen to go after the meat industry, clamping down on slaughterhouses

The UP government’ crackdown on illegal slaughter houses forced many small-time vendors of mutton and chicken to close shops, causing a lot of inconvenience to non-veg lovers. The Allahabad High Court later rapped the state government stating that it cannot take away the right of people to eat non-vegetarian food and directed it to find a solution to the slaughterhouse issue at earliest.

Changing textbooks

The new social science textbooks in Rajasthan have chapters dedicated to describe the negative impact of non-vegetarian food on health.The Class 10 physical and health education book says that non-vegetarian food harms the body. As compared to the previous edition, meat products have been eliminated from the long list of fat, protein and mineral salts sources. Only eggs have been mentioned in the new book.


Photo: PTI

Banning non-veg on festivals

At least five BJP ruled states banned sale of meat for nine days on account of Jain fasting festival of Paryushan Parva. Earlier in July, roadside non-vegetarian food vendors in Dadri (Greater Noida) were reportedly removed till the Kanwar yatra ended.

Imposing food choices on Kids

Last year, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan flatly refused to provide eggs, a key source of protein, to  kids even as 52% of children in his state are malnourished. He made his stand clear while turning down a proposal from the state’s own Women and Child Development department to serve eggs on a pilot basis in the anganwadis of three tribal districts.

Imposing food choices on prisoners

MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan last year called to end the chicken-biryani-culture, a euphemism for alleged VIP-treatment to terrorists in jail.

“We will have to think about the system. When enemies of the mankind, who don’t care about human rights, are caught they remain in jail for years. It takes years to award punishment to them and they continue to eat chicken and biryani.” he had said at an event last year.

However, prisoners in MP jails get 90 grams of any of the following items — uncooked chana, dalia, poha, roti or rice for breakfast in addition to tea or milk, Hindustan Times reported. Non-vegetarian food can be given only to an ailing prisoner on doctor’s recommendations.

In Maharashtra, vegetarian foods are mostly served to prisoners. Four years ago, jail authorities decided to cut down on non-vegetarian food served to prisoners. Since then, only on select few occasions like festivals, prisoners get to relish meat and other non-vegetarian items.

Also Read: Why a ‘kissing contest’ between tribal couples in Jharkhand has left BJP leaders fuming

Is India a Vegetarian Nation? 

A census data released by the government has pricked the bubble of India as a vegetarian nation. In the real world, only 30% of Indians above the age of 15 are vegetarian. The study revealed that over 70% of the population consumes some form of meat, any combination of fish, meat and eggs.

States ruled by BJP are mostly vegetarians

Interestingly, eight of India’s top 10 major states ranked by their preference for vegetarianism are now ruled by BJP. And 8 of the top 10 major states ranked by their preference for non-vegetarian food are ruled by non-BJP parties, according to data from the Census of India’s Sample Registration System Baseline Survey, 2014.