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Modi’s Varanasi, Adityanath’s Gorakhpur unaffected by Uttar Pradesh meat crisis

In Gorakhpur, home to Yogi Adityanath for the past 20 years, meat sellers said there was no effect of the crackdown on their business

india Updated: Apr 07, 2017 18:58 IST
Sudhir Kumar and Abdul Jadid
Sudhir Kumar and Abdul Jadid
Lucknow, Hindustan Times
Yogi Adityanath,Uttar Pradesh,Beef ban
BJP‘s Yogi Adityanath takes oath as the new chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in Lucknow. Adityanath’s administration has launched a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses even as the move hit meat sellers across the state.(REUTERS File)

At the Nai Sadak area in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, it was business as usual at Mohammad Meeraj’s mutton shop – a steady flow of customers lining up for fresh meat from a well-stocked trader.

More than a hundred kilometres to the west in chief minister Adiyanath Yogi’s parliamentary constituency Gorakhpur, Abdullah Quraishi was having an equally busy day. It was Monday, a day before the Hindu holy week of Navratra, and people were queuing up at his shop to buy mutton, one last time before they go vegan for nine days.

The scene in the two towns is in contrast to what many other places in Uttar Pradesh is facing – a severe shortage of meat and eggs due to an indefinite strike called by traders against what they said was harassment by officials following a crackdown by the BJP government on illegal slaughterhouses.

Barring buffalo meat, there was visibly no shortage of meat, chicken, or eggs in the two towns.

“I know meat sellers are on strike at Lucknow. There has been a crackdown against illegal slaughterhouses but not meat shops. Therefore, I have opened the shop,” said Mohammad Meraj.

Mohammad Ansari, a chicken meat seller, in the Rewari Talab area, said he kept his shop closed for a few hours on Monday morning but opened it by noon.

Read | Spurt in sale, price of fish in Lucknow after UP govt’s crackdown on abattoirs

“There is no impact on business. Crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses is a good move. Anything illegal should face action. Customers’ inflow is as usual at my vending cart. Neither it has increased, nor dipped,” said Pintu Sonkar, an egg seller in Pandeypur area.

Vinod Kumar, who sells fried chicken, omelettes and other chicken dishes from his vending cart, claimed “a little rise” in business. In Lucknow, several well-known eating joints are said to be facing shortage of meat and eggs, leading to dip in business.

In Gorakhpur, home to Yogi Adityanath for the past 20 years, meat sellers said there was no effect of the crackdown on their business.

Besides other places, meat is also sold at 15 to 20 shops located in two dozen Muslim localities near the iconic Gorakhnath Temple headed as chief priest by Yogi Adityanath.

Pointing to the rush of customers at his shop, Abdullah Quraishi said: “90 percent of the customers you see are Hindus. As they will avoid eating meat for the next nine days during festival of Navratra, they have rushed to the shops to eat meat before the festival begins.”

Quraishi, also the secretary of a meat-sellers’ association, said they were not contacted for supporting the strike.

Quraishi said prices of chicken had gone up from 180 to 220-240 per kg and added that sale of mutton was not affected though the supply had declined.

“Out of fear that police will harass them, suppliers in Behraich have stopped supply due to which there is a shortage of goats. As against 4 to 5 trucks, just one truck is coming each week and as a result prices have goat have gone up from Rs 2500 to more than Rs 3000.”

Gorakhpur university PhD student Swatantra Kumar -- whose daily meals admittedly includes a mutton or chicken dish, said the items were easily available.

“Even today, we got it easily but if a strike happens it will cause inconvenience to many.”

Food department records shows that there are around 200 licensed mutton and chicken meat shops in the town and their license were last renewed in 2013.

In addition, there are many non-licensed meat-sellers who sell meat at make-shift shops and by the roadside. Though the number of red meat shop – those dealing in bufalo meat -- is around 60, their licenses have not been renewed since 2002.

In, 1995, the only slaughterhouse in Humayunpur locality was shifted to Bhathat on the outskirts when Yogi Adityanath raised objection to it. It was later sealed.

First Published: Mar 28, 2017 12:35 IST