Meat traders shut shop across western U.P.

Protest follows govt.’s sealing of slaughter houses, shops

Meat traders in western Uttar Pradesh announced a strike on Thursday, hours after the State government sealed over 36 slaughterhouses and hundreds of retail meat shops across the State in its continued crackdown.

Police said 43 persons had been arrested from various districts for alleged cattle smuggling, adding that 27 FIRs had been registered against 60 persons for the same. On the action against illegal slaughterhouses, Additional Superintendent of Police, DGP headquarters, Rahul Srivastav said eight FIRs had been lodged in Meerut, Varanasi and Bareilly, and two illegal slaughterhouses each clos-ed in Varanasi and Bareilly.

Prices goes up

The strike move has led to panic buying, with mutton vanishing from shop shelves and the price of chicken rising sharply. Former Mayor of Meerut and meat exporter Shahid Akhlaq told The Hindu that the State administration was acting “under tremendous pressure from the BJP government to shut down all the slaughter houses — even those functioning with proper papers and records.”

The BSP leader said that as a mark of protest on the illegal and illogical way of treating meat traders, the Association of Meat Traders had held a panchayat and decided to go on a complete strike till the administration repealed the “draconian approach of treating legal and illegal meat establishments with the same brush.”

Highlighting that meat would not be available in the market as the State government has virtually declared every slaughter house to be “illegal”, Mr. Akhlaq said, “We will meet the District Magistrate (DM) and the Commissioner and ask them to provide livelihood to thousands of people. Then what kind of rule of law is this which looks more like an emergency?”

He said that the “prejudiced way in which BJP government was shutting down all meat establishments, it would not only affect a bulk of India’s meat export but it will also render several lakh people, who are associated with the meat trade directly or indirectly, unemployed. What kind of vikas (development) is this as this is going to cost the leather industry, which is one of the biggest exporting industries in India, very badly”.

UP is the largest meat exporting State in India, accounting for annual export turnover of ₹11,351 crore. India’s total meat exports stand at ₹ 26,682 crore.

Meanwhile the BJP Mayor of Meerut Harikant Ahluwalia doesn’t want meat to be sold in open market even legally. He and other BJP leaders on Thursday approached the DM against selling of meat in the open market, especially in places which also have temples in its vicinity.

This comes a day after three meat shops were vandalised and burnt in Hathras.

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