LUCKNOW: Protesting against the crackdown on illegal and mechanised slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh, meat sellers here have gone on an indefinite strike.
The mutton and chicken sellers who have pulled down their shutters have threatened to intensify their stir from Monday, said Mubeen Qureshi of the Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vypar Mandal.
As a result, non-veg food outlet, including the famous Tunday and Rahim's, who had shifted to mutton and chicken dishes after buffalo meat became scarce, too kept their shops shut.
The meat sellers are piqued over the crackdown on slaughter houses which has adversely hit the livelihood of lakhs of people, Qureshi said.
He added that fish sellers too may join the protest.
After coming to power, the Yogi Adityanath government has ordered closure of illegal slaughterhouses and ban on cow smuggling aiming to fulfill a key electoral promise.
State BJP leader Mazhar Abbas appealed to meat sellers saying that only the illegal shops and slaughter houses would face government action and the geneuine ones don't need to worry.
Quoting the president of the mandal, Mohd. Kaseem Qureshi, another functionary of the meat sellers association Majid Qureshi said that they don't want a showdown with the authorities but have been forced to close the markets in the interest of people involved in the trade.
"We contacted religious leaders and they have also advised us against any protest demonstration. So we are treading the path with utmost caution," Majid said.
There is no stock in the 'mandi' now and even those who had stocked some will finish it off today and join us, he said adding that no trucks bringing fresh material from nearby districts had arrived in the mandi today.
The mandal functionaries said that mutton and chicken markets in Hamirpur, Banda and Barabanki besides some other districts have also remained closed.
The absence of raw material has hit the non-vegetarian food joints in the state capital which is famous for the variety of its non-vegetarian cuisine.
"We came to know that there will be no supply of the material today and so we did not open today...how can we serve our customers without th supply of meat though we have been receiving calls since the morning asking for opening the shop", Bilal Ahmed of Rahim's, the famous Avadhi food seller said.
Another person in the food business, Abu Bakar regretted that government is silent over the issue and it is left for the meat sellers to run from pillar to post to get their issues settled.
The restaurant owners have also lent their support to the meat sellers now as there is no supply of mutton and chicken now in the markets, Bakar said.
There are only a handful of shops which are doing business today as they have some stock with them which would all finish by this evening, he added.
Some locals fear that these conditions could lead to hike in prices of vegetables.