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UP meat sellers go on strike: ‘Yogi Adityanath should fight for nation, not gosht’

Several cities across Uttar Pradesh saw a total shutdown by mutton and chicken sellers, who say they are being harassed in the name of crackdown against ‘illegal’ slaughterhouses

india Updated: Mar 27, 2017 14:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Yogi Adityanath,meat ban,slaughterhouse
Cities across Uttar Pradesh saw a total shutdown by mutton and chicken sellers, who say they are being harassed in the name of crackdown against ‘illegal’ slaughterhouses.(Sakib Ali/HT photo)

Meat sellers across Uttar Pradesh launched an indefinite strike on Monday against an ongoing crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses as the government moved to reassure traders that legal businesses wouldn’t be targeted.

Many cities in India’s largest state saw total shutdown by mutton and chicken sellers, who say they are being harassed by officials though they follow all norms.

“Meat sellers are worried about the irrational crackdown on slaughter houses as officials have started harassing the slaughter houses which are operating legally and are following all the rules of National Green Tribunal,”said Mubeen Qureshi of the Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vypar Mandal.

“We want the state government to initiate a dialogue with us and so that we can report our problems to them.”

Supply of meat – especially buffalo – has run dry across the state after a week-long crackdown on illegal abattoirs, a key pre-poll promise of the BJP that won a landslide victory in the state. Several abattoirs have been closed down and more than 50 people arrested.

Meat sellers’ organisations say the crackdown had created a fear psychosis among the traders and even licensed slaughter houses are being targetted. They have also cited loss of livelihood of thousands of people associated with the business. Several mutton and chicken shops have been set on fire, allegedly by Hindu right-wing activists.

Many butchers say they are afraid of opening shops. “Yogi Adityanath should fight for the nation, not for gosht (mutton). Many people are dying without food. It has created chaos. If he (Yogi Adityanath) fights for gosht, we will raise our voices,” a meat seller in Lucknow told news agency ANI.

Traders say the crackdown has led to a severe shortage of all kinds of meat, even of buffalo, one of the most preferred choice for lakhs of people who cannot afford the costlier mutton and chicken. The shortage of buffalo meat has forced many eateries including the famous Tunday and Rahim’s to shift to mutton and chicken dishes.

As the mouth-watering kebabs went off the platter, the owner of another famous eatery said the situation might force the hoteliers to get mutton from Delhi which will in turn push up prices. There are fears that the shortage of buffalo meat will deprive the economically weak section of the much needed protein in their diet. There are reports of shortage of meat for animals in Lucknow and Kanpur zoos.

But the government has sought to allay fears with health minister Siddhartha Nath Singh saying licenced slaughter houses should comply with the norms mentioned in the licence and need not to fear.

“No orders have been issued to take any action against any shop selling chicken, fish or eggs. They need not to fear,” Singh clarified. He directed the officials that they should not act in over-enthusiasm nor overstep their jurisdiction.

Chief veterinary officer of the Lucknow Municipal Corporation, Dr AK Rao, said, “ All the legal licensed mutton sellers and beef sellers need not worry , they are welcome to do their trade, the action is only against illegal slaughter houses violating NGT norms. These illegal slaughter houses are playing with the health of common man.”

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Mar 27, 2017 14:05 IST