The stand-off between the MCD and striking meat merchants in the capital over shifting to a new abattoir intensified on Monday with a top trader community leader threatening an all-India agitation on the issue from October 30 if their demands were not met.
Acting on a court order, the MCD had on Thursday sealed the 'halal' section of the 200-year-old Idgah slaughterhouse and shifted the operations to the new centre at Ghazipur, but the butchers were refusing to move there, citing alleged "lack of facilities" and "unhygienic conditions".
"The new slaughterhouse at Ghazipur lies just beside a huge landfill site and is unhygienic. The MCD has misled the court and has not provided many necessary facilities there. The slaughtering charges are several times more," Sirajuddin Qureshi, president of All India Jamiatul Quresh, an umbrella group of meat trading Quresh community, told reporters.
He demanded that Ghazipur be improved with more facilities in keeping with the present meat demand of Delhi and till then the sealed Idgah slaughterhouse be reopened. "Ghazipur has capacity to slaughter only 500 large animals and 5000 sheep and goat each day while the demand of Delhi is 5000 large animals and 25000-30000 sheep and goat," he said.
Qureshi demanded that Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Delhi government intervene to defuse the crisis. "If our demands are not met, we will turn Delhi meatless. Chicken and fish traders will also join strike. We will launch an all India agitation from October 30," he said.
He warned that the issue might turn into a "law and order" problem as "six lakh people are directly or indirectly affected".