LUCKNOW: The countdown for closure of mechanised slaughterhouses has begun in Uttar Pradesh. The swearing-in of the new chief minister of the state in Lucknow on Sunday will pave way for promulgation of an ordinance in this regard. It is likely to come into effect by midnight Sunday.
The ban on mechanised slaughterhouses was one of the main points of the BJP’s manifesto in the recent elections. The manifesto promised promulgation of an ordinance by midnight on the very day a saffron regime takes over the reins of the state. The party’s president Amit Shah raised this issue consistently and vociferously in his election rallies across the state, especially in western UP where many mechanised abattoirs are located.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the top buffalo meat-producing states in the country. According to the state’s Animal Husbandry Department, UP produced 7,515.14 lakh kg of buffalo meat in 2014-15. In fact, the country exported 13,14,158.05 tons of buffalo meat products worth Rs 2,6681.56 crore in 2015-16.
There are about 130 legal slaughterhouses in the state employing over two lakh people. However, there are scores of illegal abattoirs in areas such as Bijnor, Amroha and Chandpur in western UP. The net worth of the entire beef industry in UP is approximately Rs 17,000 crore.
Though the BJP manifesto talks about illegal mechanised slaughterhouses, those involved in the legal meat industry are also restless about the forthcoming ordinance. They fear being targeted on the basis of mere suspicion.
To begin with, the new ordinance is likely to make provision for the closure of illegal mechanised abattoirs and slaughter houses from Sunday midnight. The rest running legally will continue for now. But once the licences of the mechanised abattoirs expire, there will be no further renewal, say the sources.
As a major chunk of the Qureishis, a Muslim subcommunity, are associated with the business of slaughterhouses, they fear they would be under the scanner of the BJP regime about to take over in UP. There have been a number of cases in the past where truckloads of buffalo meat were stopped and their driver were harassed by cow vigilante groups and cow slaughter were lodged against them.
The case of Dadri is still fresh in the memory of the Muslim community in UP in which a man named Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched in 2015 by a mob incited by to rumours that he and his family stored beef in their refrigerator.