Lucknow: Meat sellers in Lucknow and across some districts have announced an indefinite strike from Monday against the crackdown on slaughterhouses. Although Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said abattoirs operating legally will not be touched, an increasing number of butcher shops and slaughterhouses across the state have complained that they are being targeted unfairly under the new BJP government.
“We have decided to intensify our strike from today. All shops will remain closed. Fish sellers too have joined us and are extending support to us. The crackdown on slaughterhouses has adversely hit the livelihood of lakhs of people,” Mubeen Qureshi, an official of the Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vypar Mandal, said.
In Noida, about an hour’s drive from Delhi, butcher shops said their incomes had fallen by as much as a half because of the crackdown. “The authorities are even closing down chicken shops,” said one shop owner. Even shops that were able to provide the required papers were asked to install purdahs or curtains in front of them, they said. Others complained that the government was dragging its feet on issuing fresh licenses and renewing old ones.
But the police maintained they were following procedure. “It is the police’s job to check papers. Some people are closing their shops themselves because they do not have renewed licenses,” said Sujata Singh, Superintendent of Police of Gautam Budh Nagar.
Due to the clampdown, non-vegetarian food outlets in Lucknow, including the famous Tunday Kebabs and Rahim’s have switched to mutton and chicken dishes due to non-availability of buffalo meat.
After taking charge of India’s most populous state last week, the Yogi Adityanath government ordered closure of illegal slaughterhouses and strict enforcement of the ban on cow smuggling to fulfill a key election promise.
Responding to complaints about loss of income, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “If there is large-scale disruption, the state government will look into it and resolve the issue.”