Total ban on liquor, non-vegetarian food around Varanasi temples

Varanasi's Sankat Mochan Temple

Varanasi, June 17 A total ban has been imposed on sale and consumption of liquor and non-vegetarian food within a 250 metre radius of all temples and heritage sites in Varanasi.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had earlier in April, announced a ban on liquor shops and sale of non-vegetarian food at all places of worships including Varanasi, Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Chitrakoot, Deoband, Dewa Sharif, Misrikh-Naimisharanya.

He had directed officers of the Excise Department to prohibit the sale of liquor with a kilometre of Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi, Krishna Janambhoomi in Mathura and the Sangam area in Allahabad.

The Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC), two days ago, passed a proposal for a complete ban on alcohol and non-vegetarian food in a 250-metre periphery near temples and heritage sites in this ancient pilgrim town, a top official said.

The decision was taken at the executive committee of the VMC chaired my Mayor Mridula Jaiswal.

Narsingh Das, deputy chairman at VMC, said: “In the meeting of executive committee, corporator Rajesh Yadav put up a proposal for complete ban on liquor and non-vegetarian food near the temples and Heritage sites in 250-metre periphery.”

In support of his proposal, Yadav said that alcohol and non-vegetarian food should be banned near the temples and heritage sites on the lines of similar rules in Haridwar and Ayodhya.

Das said that the committee passed the proposal after a discussion. It will now be tabled in the next session of Varanasi Municipal Corporation. After being passed in the session, it will be sent to the state government for final approval.

The Kashi Vishwanath temple, in 2017, had started the facility of online booking of ‘aarti’ and purchase of tickets for ‘darshan’. Those who are unable to visit the temple personally can see the ‘aarti’ online and get the ‘prasad’ by post.

Varanasi is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency. It is also regarded as the country’s spiritual capital with some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, and is a top destination for performing funeral rites.

The holy city also draws Hindu pilgrims for bathing in the sacred waters of the Ganga that flows through Varanasi.

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