Yogi Adityanath, the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (UP), India, who is known for his vitriolic anti-Muslim language, has started in his first week in office with a crackdown on ‘illegal meat slaughterhouses’.
On March 22, an order was issued by the state government to all district magistrates, divisional commissioners, senior police officers, and Municipal Corporation for the inspection of slaughterhouses; this was exactly three days after Yogi Adityanath took oath as the chief minister.
Five days after the state government started its crackdown on illegally run slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh, more than half of its licensed slaughterhouses have also been “temporarily closed” for not meeting their terms for operation.
While there are 44 licensed slaughterhouses in the state, 26 have been “temporarily shut down” for not following the basic rules and guidelines laid down for operation, transportation, and processing of slaughtered animals.
Chief Secretary of the state, Rahul Bhatnagar said, “As many as 26 licensed slaughterhouses have been shut down during the last five days, as they were not following the set rules. It is not a permanent closure… They have been temporarily closed and would be allowed to function once they follow all norms.”
While commenting on the number of illegal slaughterhouses, Mr. Bhatnagar said, “There is no official count on illegal slaughterhouses being shut down since there is no official record.”
Justifying their actions, Mr. Bhatnagar claimed, “Our action is based on the Supreme Court order in the Laxmi Narain Modi vs Union of India case and also the May 12, 2015, order of the National Green Tribunal.” He then clarified by saying that this crackdown is directed only against illegal slaughterhouses.
There is no question of the strike being called off anytime soon. It will go on indefinitely.
The Adityanath government’s aim is to ensure health and safety of people by providing safe and healthy meat to them, Shrikant Sharma, state Cabinet Minister said. “Our government is going by the rule book and following the orders of Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal. The action is against only illegal slaughterhouses. As far as meat shop owners are concerned, I would suggest that rather than going on a strike, it is better that they follow the rules.”
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In response to the government’s heavy handed actions, the meat sellers have announced an indefinite strike in UP, as they closed their shops on Monday. The protest is against the statewide crackdown on the so-called ‘illegal’ slaughterhouses and harrassment of the licensed shops.
It has been reported that in several districts in UP, there is a scarcity of goat and chicken meat in the state. Meat serving restaurants are deserted as they are unable to serve the dishes named on the menu due to the scarcity of meat products.
It has also been reported that many legal slaughterhouses have been accused of not meeting the terms and conditions and banned without any notice whatsoever.
The Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vypar Mandal strengthened its strike, standing firm to their cause, they asserted that there was no question of calling the strike off. “We are on a strike and all the meat shops (mutton) were closed today. There is no question of the strike being called off anytime soon. It will go on indefinitely… The meat sellers are worried over the crackdown on slaughterhouses, which has adversely hit the livelihood of lakhs of people,” said, Mubin Qureshi, an office-bearer of the Mandal.
Azam Khan, leader of the Samajwadi party in the state, has encouraged Muslims to stop eating meat. “I appeal to the Muslim fraternity that they think upon it… It is not mandated in Islam that Muslims should eat meat. I appeal to the people that they should stop eating meat.”
Conspiracy Against Yogi’s Government?
Mr. Sharma clarified that this move by the state government is not against one specific religion, which, in his opinion, is part of a conspiracy to defame the government. Commending the intelligence of the people, he said, they will not fall for such conspiracies.
Sidharth Nath Singh, Cabinet minister, also said no such orders have been given for taking any action against shops selling chicken, fish or eggs. He claimed that he had directed officials not to overstep their jurisdiction.
Furthermore, NGT (National Green Tribune) had insisted on the closure of illegal slaughter houses, Singh said: “The NGT, in 2015, had observed that illegal slaughterhouses are a concern for the environment, while insisting on their closure.”
The Anti-Muslim Government of UP
Despite the repeated assurances of the government officials that this act is not against one particular religion, looking at the facts, series, and history of events, believing these statements becomes even more difficult.
“There is no official count on illegal slaughterhouses being shut down since there is no official record.”
– Rahul Bhatnagar
Objections were raised against the appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the CM of UP, from the very beginning both from the Muslim community and the Hindu liberals. The anti-Muslim comments of the CM back in 2007 being some primary reasons for concern. Unfortunately, he seems to be continuing right on from his RSS roots with orders against Muslims as soon as he has come into the office. One of his first orders after coming into office has been targetted at the Muslim community.
Abdul Hameed Qureshi, a member of Lucknow Bakra Gosht Vypar Mandal, said that the government has not renewed their licenses for the last two years. “This is nothing but a conspiratorial act against the Muslims of India.”