For Mohd Nisar Qureshi, 58, a meat seller who lives in Bhoosa Mandi, Aminabad here, the crackdown on illegal slaughter houses and meat shops could not have come at a more inopportune time. Nisar is sunk in the depths of gloom because due to business closedown, he now finds it difficult to afford two square meals a day. On top of that, the spectre of paying his children’s school fees is giving him sleepless nights.
His mutton shop has been shut for past three days and the new academic session has just begun for his son Siraj, 16, student of Class IX in a convent school. Nisar does not want his son to enter his traditional business and has always emphasised on educating not only his son but also daughters Zeba, 20 who is doing BA and Sheeba, 18, who is in Class 11.
“ Qureshis have been traditional meat sellers among Muslims , but I have always emphasised on educating my kids. I feel they should not follow my profession , which is full of blood and filth,” Nisar told HT.
“The government must take action against illegal meat shops but why punish people like us who have a license and run the as per the norms? I want the LMC to regulate the trade so that shops open soon. I am already short of cash because of demonetisation and do not have enough money to deposit the fees of my kids,” he lamented.
Nisar is not the only one. Walking down the narrow dingy lanes of Bhoosa Mandi one can see around 25 to 30 Qureshi families living in small houses, some of them kuccha with tin shades on top. All these families have been trading in meat for generations but never in the past have they seen a total shutdown for three days in a row.
The crackdown has hit Bhoosa Mandi residents the most, as all these families are hand to mouth, earning between Rs 500 to 1500 per day to feed their families.
The conditions in which the Qureshis live are appalling. For instance, they still collect water from a single public tap in their locality, making the most of the quantity which they get.
Mohd Rais, 60, who has a mutton shop in Udaiganj, is a heart patient. He also has to feed families of his two brothers. The closure may hit his treatment, he fears.
“I am taking regular medicines for blood pressure and blood thinning drugs. They cost around Rs 120 per day. If there is no income, how will I continue my treatment? Earlier, I sold two goats a day but for the past three days I have not earned anything,” he said.
Rizwan Qureshi, who has a shop in Husainganj said, “I had orders for three marriages before the strike. Now they are demanding mutton but I cannot supply it , as the slaughter house of Maulviganj is shut. My reputation in the market is being blown up.”