A delegation of meat traders and processors on Tuesday met Uttar Pradesh minister Siddharth Nath Singh as the strike against the statewide crackdown on illegal and mechanised slaughter houses continued on the second day today.
The delegation submitted a memorandum to Singh, who also handles the Health ministry portfolio. Singh has promised to look into the demands of meat traders.
The traders have alleged harassment in the name of crackdown against illegal slaughter houses in the state after Yogi Adityanath government came to power.
"We are with UP CM on taking action against illegal slaughterhouses but why is action being taken against us," Saeed Bashir, who is associated with Murga Mandi Samiti, said.
Singh had yesterday said that the government was acting only against the illegal abattoirs.
"We are acting only against illegal abattoirs. Licenced slaughter houses are requested to stick to the norms," the Health Minister said yesterday.
"The licenced slaughter houses should comply with the norms mentioned in the licence and need not to fear," he said.
"No orders have been issued to take any action against any shop selling chicken, fish or eggs. They need not to fear," Singh clarified.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also defended his government’s action against illegal slaughterhouses, saying the state is following the Supreme Court’s directions.
“We haven’t made a new law. We are merely ensuring that the existing law is implemented. We are neither against nor in favour of anyone,” he said on Monday in reference to SC's guidelines on illegal abattoirs.
He had promised on Saturday that “the government will not touch those (abattoirs) that are operating as per the law and have a valid licence."
Meanwhile, the supply of meat has been hit hard in the Delhi NCR region due to the crackdown on illegal abattoirs and the meat sellers' strike in UP but the real impact will be felt only after the nine-day-long Navratra.
Industry experts said the festival, during which Hindus generally abstain from non-vegetarian food, will "soften the blow" of shortage of meat as its consumption comes down by around 50 per cent during the period in the national capital.
An official in Ghazipur wholesale meat market said supply of goats from Uttar Pradesh has totally stopped since the crackdown on slaughterhouses and the ensuing strike in UP.
A meat wholesaler said some suppliers from Uttar Pradesh, who have licences to run their business, have also stopped sending goats fearing attacks by vigilantes.
Traders said the shortage of supply will not affect Delhi till after the Navratra though marginal increase in mutton prices has been reported in some areas.
Meat sellers, especially mutton vendors, in Uttar Pradesh went on an indefinite strike yesterday against the state-wide crackdown on illegal and mechanised slaughterhouses.
The crackdown on illegal abattoirs was one of the first decisions taken by Aditya Nath Yogi who took charge as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on March 19 after the BJP swept the assembly polls.
Shutting down of illegal and mechanised abattoirs and cow protection ('gauraksha') was among the poll promises of the BJP.
In a related development, the Allahabad High Court on Monday sought a reply from the Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) on April 3 in the matter of renewal of licenses of meat shops in the state capital.
The Lucknow bench of the court asked why the LMC had not renewed the licenses of meat shops, which expired in 2014.
A division bench of justices Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Sanjay Harkauli gave the order on an application moved in a writ petition of 2015 filed by Shahabuddin and many other meat sellers.
According to petitioner's counsel GC Sinha, the meat shop licenses of the petitioners were not renewed after 2014.
The petitioners moved a writ petition in the high court in 2015 and the court had sought reply from the respondents, Sinha said.
He also said that an application, seeking directions for renewal of these licenses was also moved.