To protest against the Maharashtra government’s ban on the slaughter, sale and possession of beef, dealers and butchers in Mumbai will hold a rally from Byculla to Azad Maidan on Tuesday.
Intezaar Qureshi, vice-president, Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealers’ Association, said the demonstration will be bigger than the one on March 10. “The rally will be followed by an agitation at Azad Maidan. The farmers who raise cattle, too, will join us, along with all those involved in beef trade and hide transportation,” said Qureshi.
Around 10,000 traders and butchers had assembled at Azad Maidan on March 10, to protest against the ban.
The butchers at the Deonar abattoir, Mumbai’s only municipal slaughterhouse, have been on strike since March 4, two days after the 19-year-old bill got President Pranab Mukherjee’s nod. While the ban did not include water buffaloes, the traders have stopped the slaughter of water buffaloes as a sign of protest. This has led to a shortage of meat in the market and increased the prices of mutton and chicken, said traders.
“After 10 days of strike, too, the government is showing no signs of rolling back the ban. Thousands of traders have now become jobless,” said Qureshi.
Meanwhile, goat and sheep traders have turned down the request of the beef association to join the strike. Aslam Qureshi, president, All India Sheep and Goat Breeders’ and Dealers’ Association, said, “We express our solidarity to all those who have lost their livelihood because of the decision, but we won’t strike work.”