The biryani row cast its shadow on Eid al-Adha celebrations in Haryana’s Muslim dominant Mewat district, as the markets were deserted and people shunned purchasing and sacrificing cattle openly.
District headquarters Nuh and tehsil Ferozepur Jhirka from where biryani samples were collected early this month, were the most affected. People avoided sacrificing cattle in the open and performed rituals at their homes and agricultural fields.
The seven samples reportedly tested positive in a lab at Lala Lajpat Rai University of veterinary and animal science in Hisar.
The report is yet to be made public and no police action has been initiated against those from whom samples were collected. “We have not received any report and there is not direction to file a case. We are focusing on law and order in the area,” said inspector Kartar Singh, in charge, Ferozepur Jhirka police station.
“These seven samples were just part of a crackdown. The policemen come to check food anytime and sometimes ask us to remove vends,” said Mohammad Alam, biryani seller at Ferozepur Jhirka town. He said there is fear among biryani sellers and they have switched from gosht to chicken biryani. Gosht is referred to red meat, including beef, lamb, mutton, and buffalo meat.
A day before Eid al-Adha (festival of sacrifice), cattle markets were set up for purchase of animals for sacrifice, but this time the usual fervour was missing. “Cattle trade is considerably affected as people are avoiding purchasing them. Through there is no ban on slaughtering of buffalo and goat, people are playing safe,” said Mushtaq Ahmed, a cattle seller in Nuh.
“The mood is generally dull in the region as the biryani incident occurred a few days before the festival. It is a tactic to disturb peace. But people have exercised restraint and have not reacted to provocation,” said Zakir Hussain, MLA from Nuh.
Bhani Ram Mangla, chairman of Haryana Gau Seva Aayog, said the samples were collected after receiving complaints that beef was used in biryani. “As per Haryana cow protect act, consumption or smuggling of beef is banned in the state,” said Mangla.