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10 days after Yogi’s prodding, 22 Mathura wards declared ‘holy’, to ban meat, liquor

The sale of alcohol and non-vegetarian food will now be banned in these areas.

The Yogi Adityanath government issued a notification Friday declaring 22 wards under the jurisdiction of the Mathura-Vrindavan Municipal Corporation a “Pavitra Teertha Sthal (pious place of pilgrimage)”. The sale of alcohol and non-vegetarian food will now be banned in these areas.

The move came 10 days after Adityanath directed the Mathura district administration to work on banning meat and liquor in the vicinity of seven Hindu pilgrimage sites in the temple town, saying it was the wish of the local people. He made the remarks during Janmashtami celebrations in Mathura-Vrindavan on August 30. The chief minister also said that those involved in liquor and meat businesses near these pilgrimage sites would be rehabilitated.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi, who is also ACS (Religious Affairs), told The Indian Express, “An area roughly around 10 sq km in the Mathura-Vrindavan region has been declared a site of pilgrimage. This area will now be reviewed by the Excise as well as the Food and Civil Supplies Departments, and licences in this region will be revoked accordingly.”

The 22 wards part of this pilgrimage zone now are Ghati Bahalrai, Govind Nagar, Mandi Ramdas, Chaubiyapada, Dwarikapuri, Navneet Nagar, Bankhandi, Bharatpur Gate, Arjunpura, Hanuman Tila, Jagannath Puri, Gaughat, Manoharpura, Bairajpura, Radhanagar, Badarinagar, Mahavidyacolony, Krishnanagar first and second, Koyala Gali, Dampiyar Nagar and Jai Singh Pura.

In its notification, the Uttar Pradesh Religious Affairs Department said Mathura-Vrindavan was the birthplace of Lord Krishna, and hence considered a holy place, visited by lakhs of pilgrims from India and abroad. The notification said Mathura-Vrindavan was “historically significant” and crucial from the point of view of tourism as well.

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