A delegation of meat sellers and butchers on Thursday met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath at his residence in Lucknow for around half-an-hour, nearly a week after the state government decided to shut illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops operating without fulfilling requisite rules.
“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,” said a government spokesperson.
Umar Chaudhary, general secretary of All India Jamaitul Quresh, a representative body of butchers and meat traders, said: “The CM listened to us patiently. He assured us that pending licences will be renewed and an alternative arrangement made for slaughter till modern slaughterhouses are constructed. He also said the establishments will have to comply with all rules affecting environment and health. We told him that many vigilante organisations harass those involved in the business. Assuring us that such acts would not be allowed, he said he is the Chief Minister for all and not just for members of a particular religion or caste.”
“The CM asked the health minister to take necessary action on our demands. The minister asked us to call off our strike. However, we have decided not to open our shops till Navratri is over. By then, we would also be able to renew our licences,” he added. The delegation, led by Sirajuddin Qureshi, president of the organisation, also submitted a memorandum to the chief minister.
State Health Minister Sidharth Nath Singh said the Chief Minister heard the delegation “sympathetically”.
“He said the government will obey directions of the Supreme Court and NGT. The previous governments had not taken adequate action that is why this issue has come up. He said the government is not working with any prejudice. Officials and employees have been asked to work impartially and not act on the basis of any caste, religion or face,” Singh told mediapersons.
He added that members of the delegation appreciated the government’s action and supported the closure of illegal abattoirs.
Thousands of people involved in the meat trade had been affected by the government action. To protest the move, many meat sellers announced a statewide strike.