Protesting against the Yogi Adityanath-led government’s crackdown on illegal and mechanised slaughterhouses, meat sellers across Uttar Pradesh have gone on an indefinite strike starting today.
Fish vendors are also likely to join the stir which has seen non-vegetarian delicacies go off the menu in several parts of the state.
However, Uttar Pradesh Minister Siddhartha Nath Singh has said that there have been no orders from the government to close down shops selling chicke and eggs.
"No orders given by the govt. to close down shops selling Chicken&Eggs.Do not believe news of it going around on social media," he said.
"Action being taken against illegal slaughterhouses only, legal slaughterhouses should continue to follow regulations,"added SN Singh.
Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vypar Mandal office bearer Mubeen Qureshi said, in the wake of the crackdown, there was no question of the strike being called off anytime soon. "It will go on indefinitely," he said.
Due to the strike, non-vegetarian food outlets, including the famous Tunday and Rahim's have shifted to mutton and chicken dishes after buffalo meat became scarce.
"The meat sellers are piqued over the crackdown on slaughter houses which has adversely hit the livelihood of lakhs of people," Qureshi said.
After coming to power, the Aditya Nath Yogi government has ordered closure of illegal slaughterhouses and strict enforcement of the ban on cow smuggling to fulfil a key electoral promise.
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.
"But there will be no compromise on the quality of the food," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
At the same time, he supported the closure of illegal and mechanised slaughter houses in the state, saying it was difficult for a common man to pass through a locality where the slaughter houses were operating almost openly.
He also alleged that the illegal abattoirs even indulged in slaughtering dogs.
Replying to a question, he said, "This is not a religious issue. In fact, it is directly linked to the health of people, who have the right to good quality of meat and fish."
Meanwhile, BJP national spokesman Sambit Patra said in Delhi that the government was only following a court order as illegal abattoirs were contributing to UP's ill health by getting ground water polluted.
He claimed those running meat outlets legally and in accordance with norms were not being victimised.
"There has been a court order about illegal abattoirs which was not implemented by the previous government. The state's Chief Secretary has constituted committees in each district headed by the Collector and comprising ten people each. The committee is visiting every slaughterhouse to see if they are being run legally and submitting a report every day," he said.
About loss of livelihood and lack of meat in the market, Patra said," If there is large-scale disruption, the state government will look at it and resolve the issue.
Senior UP Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh said only small meat vendors were being targeted during the drive.
"How is it that the small shops are getting closed and meat exports are going up. The government should have made people aware of the laws and rules before launching the drive," he said.
Chief Minister Aditya Nath Yogi had yesterday said abattoirs operating legally will not be touched but action will be taken against those run illegally.
"The government will not touch those (abattoirs) which are operating as per the provisions of law and have a valid licence. But those that are violating the orders of the NGT and playing with the health of the public would not be spared...," he had said.