Aggrieved by the closure of slaughter houses across Uttar Pradesh since Yogi Adityanath became chief minister, the Qureshi community, who are mostly engaged in butcher trade, have threatened a stir if their problems are not redressed.
A delegation of al-Qureshi Kalyan Samiti will meet the chief minister in his constituency Gorakhpur on Sunday and present a memorandum to him.
If the talks failed, the community will hold a massive demonstration in front of the Assembly in Lucknow on March 27, the Samiti president, Fawad Ali said.
The crackdown on cattle smuggling and illegal slaughter houses across Uttar Pradesh on the new CM’s directives has resulted in scores of arrests and cases against the minority community, lakhs of whom have lost their livelihood.
“We are jobless and our family members are starving. There are 25,000 Qureshi community families in Gorakhpur. Adityanath is our representative and he should redress our grievances,” Ali said.
Mohammad Islam, a member of the Qureshi community, said they would urge Adityanath to provide alternative employment or a government job to one member from each Qureshi family if the state government is adamant about the closure of slaughter houses.
“We are ready to close the slaughter houses. But the state government should rehabilitate us or give alternative employment,” he said.
Terming the action “one-sided”, Mohammad Irfan Ali said no action was taken against people who indulged in slaughter of pigs, goats and chicken. “The closure of the slaughter houses is a conspiracy against the Qureshi community,” he said.
Even as buffalo meat traders in UP, who supply 50% of the country’s exports, are mulling legal action, non-vegetarian traders—including eggs, chicken, mutton and fish—have downed their shutters in Lucknow.
The members of the Qureshi community have applied for licence in Gorakhpur Nagar Nigam (GNN) office but are forced to run from pillar to post by the municipal officials.
“The officials told us to contact the food cell, but they turned us back. We will urge chief minister to direct the GNN officials to grant us licence to run the slaughter houses,” Fawad Ali said.
District BJP leader, Dharmendra Singh said during his two-day stay in Gorakhpur, Adityanath will meet representatives of various communities and organisations, but did not specify whether that would include the Qureshi community.
In 2012, the Qureshi Kalyan Samiti had filed a petition in Allahabad high court in 2002 after a slaughter house located in Humayunpur locality was closed. The HC had directed the district administration to provide an alternative slaughter house, which was set up in Bhathat on the outskirts of the city. However, BJP activists organised a protest and ensured that even that was closed.
The then district magistrate permitted the Qureshi community to slaughter buffaloes in their respective houses or temporary slaughter houses in their localities. After the newly constituted BJP government ordered closure of illegal slaughter houses, the GNN raided the Qureshi houses and imposed a ban on slaughter of buffaloes, Ali said.