UP meat traders may call off strike after CM Yogi’s assurance, association supports action
Almost a week after the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government’s crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses, the state’s meat traders may call off the ongoing strike after their ‘positive meeting’ with the Chief Minister.
The hope came after CM Adityanath assured to meat sellers and exporters on Thursday that his government will protect interests of all genuine operators.
“The Chief Minister intently listened to the problems and difficulties described by the delegation members. He said this government belongs to all and no discrimination or injustice would be meted out to anyone on the basis of caste, sect and religion,” a government spokesperson was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.
The strike, however, will continue at least till April 1 when the state abattoirs' association members will hold a meeting to decide over how to get their licenses renewed.
Meanwhile, meat shops and slaughterhouses which are licensed or which have failed to get their licenses renewed because of the previous government's policies can open their shops from April 1.
Yesterday, the traders hinted at a positive decision, saying that an announcement will be made after internal meetings.
Sirajuddin Qureshi the president of the All India Jamiatul Quresh – an association of the state’s abattoirs and meat sellers told Hindustan Times on Thursday that it has appealed to its members to consider withdrawing the strike.
“I guess things would start normalising within a couple of days,” Qureshi was quoted by Hindustan Times as saying.
State Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh, who was present during the talks, said Adityanath assured the delegation that stern action would be taken if any officer acted against a legal and licensed slaughterhouse.
He said a firm assurance was given by the chief minister to the delegation that no adverse action will be taken by "overenthusiastic" officials while raiding the illegal abattoirs.
"A way to move forward has been found and the intention of the government and the delegation is the same that no illegal action is carried out in Uttar Pradesh," Singh said, claiming that both the sides were "happy" over the outcome of the meeting.
Singh said the government has to pay attention to the constitutionality of any of its actions and the chief minister has assured the meat-sellers that nothing was being done in a prejudiced manner and there was no directive to any official to act on caste or religious lines.
The chief minister has made it clear that stern action will be taken against those flouting the rules and this will not be tolerated from now on, he added.
"We are happy that the delegation has hailed the chief minister and his views," Singh said.
The effects of the statewide strike have not been felt much in view of 'Navaratra', during which Hindus in north India generally abstain from consuming non-vegetarian food.
Shops selling fish, eggs and chicken were open in the state capital but there were not many buyers.
Representatives of the agitating meat-sellers and exporters had earlier met Singh on Tuesday in order to arrive at a reconciliation.
The office-bearers of their association had submitted a memorandum to the state government, seeking a meeting with the chief minister over their demands, which include allowing the slaughterhouses to operate as their closure was affecting their livelihood.
On the other hand, the Yogi Adityanath government's crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses has found an unusual supporter in All India Meat Association, which has hailed the Chief Minister for following his "raj dharma".
"Meat traders were subjected to injustice by the BSP and SP governments, the new chief minister is following his raj dharma, and it is wrong to comment on the one who is pursuing his raj dharma (the duty of the rulers).
"He is trying to bring the system back on track and needs to be thanked," representative of All India Meat Association and All India Meat and Livestock Exporters' Association Haji Shakeel Qureshi said after meeting CM Adityanath.