LUCKNOW: It was a ‘meatless’ Sunday for Lucknowites as the citizens — 80 per cent of whom are non-vegetarian — were left high and dry, for meat sellers kept their shutters down in protest against the State government’s crackdown on illegal and unlicensed slaughterhouses and outlets across UP. Meat traders around the State are expected to go on an indefinite strike from Monday, protesting the action.
Though fish traders made most of the crisis, even they contemplated joining the strike call from Monday onwards. “Fish sellers are also joining,” said Iqbal Qureshi, president of the UP Bakra Murga Vyapar Kalyan Samiti (UPBMVKS).
Famous joints like Tunday and Rahim’s remained closed, as also meat shops in CM Yogi Adityanath’s Gorakhpur. However, there was only partial impact of the strike call in the industrial town of Kanpur, where a few mutton and chicken shops were opened on Sunday.
“If we don’t buy meat from them, they’ll be forced to shut their shops”, said Imran Mubeen, an elder who boycotted meat in support of the Lucknow strike call. However, meat sale was as usual in the holy city of Varanasi, as were shop open in Allahabad.
Speaking at his welcome function in Gorakhpur, the CM clarified that his government would not touch legal slaughterhouses that were following the NGT norms. But at the same time, he reiterated his resolve to continue action against illegal meat shops and slaughterhouses, saying he wouldn’t let the cow smugglers go scot-free.
Two day ago, Chief Secretary Rahul Bhatnagar had issued guidelines to be followed by meat traders, and had also issued directives for DMs to set up 10-member monitoring committees to check slaughtering and sale of meat in illegal concerns.
There were 140 slaughterhouses across UP, of which around 100 illegal ones have shut shop. Thousands have also faced Government’s axe. Meanwhile, a respectable number of shop owners have closed down establishments in fear of crackdown in the absence of legal documents. There are reports that if such a situation prolongs, hotels across UP might be forced to get mutton from Delhi.