Following the crackdown on meat processing units, butcher shops and the “fear surrounding the meat trade”, a group of small businessmen said their livelihood has been severely affected and they have hardly any source of income available. A 35-year-old businessman who lives in Sadar Bazar and used to run a butcher shop in Loni said that despite getting a licence for his business, his shop was shut down. “For 35 years, our family has been running a mutton and chicken shop in Loni. Earlier, there were no problems in operations. We had obtained a licence last year and it is valid till December this year,” he said.
However, a few months ago, during a crackdown on meat shops in UP after the new government was formed, the Loni trader was allegedly told that his licence was not valid since he did not have a No-Objection Certificate. “Before issuing the licence, I was required to fulfil certain conditions — tiles on the floor, glass doors, etc.
There were about 17-18 conditions and a licence was issued only after I had met all of them. A few months ago, I was told that my licence was not valid and I need to get an NOC. My shop is shut and I have been running from one government office to another,” the Loni trader said, while addressing a public hearing at Constitution Club in Delhi, organised by Save Environment and Human Rights, a voluntary group of university teachers, lawyers, students and activists.
The meeting saw those involved in small-scale meat business — traders, farmers, biryani sellers and transporters — sharing problems they faced after the crackdown and “fear of attack by cow protection groups”. Speaking at the event, A P Shah, retired Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, said, “Those from the minority and Dalit communities involved in the meat and fish trades are being harassed. Their livelihood cannot be taken away as it is guaranteed by the Constitution.”