Thousands of meat sellers across Uttar Pradesh downed their shutters on Monday as part of their indefinite protest against the state government’s crackdown on “illegal” slaughterhouses. The government for its part made it clear that action was being taken only against abattoirs without valid licences.
Hundreds of meat shops and eateries serving non-vegetarian delicacies in the state capital remained closed owing to shortage of meat. “We are not getting meat...we have no option but to close the shops,” said an eatery owner in Lucknow’s Aminabad locality. They complained that the authorities had been acting against those selling goat meat and chicken also. “Our business has been ruined and we are on the brink of starvation,” said a roadside chicken meat seller in Aliganj area.
The UP government on Monday clarified that the crackdown was only against “illegally operated” slaughterhouses. “Those having valid licences need not worry,” said UP Health Minister Sidddharth Nath Singh while speaking to reporters here. He said that chicken meat sellers were not being targeted and reports to this effect, which were circulating on the social media, were “incorrect”.
Singh, however, cautioned the officials against being “over excited” and targeting slaughterhouses and meat sellers with valid licences. Hundreds of “illegal” slaughterhouses and meat shops had been sealed across the state after the BJP government assumed power. Closing of “illegal” abattoirs was part of BJP’s election manifesto and the officials were given strict orders to close all such shops and abattoirs.