Carabeef dishes might still remain a distant dream for Mumbaikars as butchers associated with the Deonar abattoir have decided to continue to boycott slaughtering of water buffaloes. This comes even as beef dealers had decided to restart trading in carabeef from April 1, almost a month after the ban on slaughtering bulls and bullocks was implemented in the state.
On Tuesday, water buffaloes began to trickle into the Deonar abattoir. Since March 4, dealers stopped the slaughter of even buffaloes, which are still allowed in the state, to protest against the ban.
But this decision has the Qureshi community split in half. While beef traders and dealers are keen to resume their business, butchers and caretakers are worried that the community would send the wrong message if they gave in to the ban so soon.
Earlier, around 450 bulls, bullocks and buffaloes used to be slaughtered at Deonar, the numbers set to come down with only water buffaloes now being permitted to be slaughtered. Workers are worried that this would lead to lesser pay and job cuts at slaughterhouses.
Late Tuesday evening, butchers and workers at Deonar held an impromptu meeting and decided to stay away from work. “We decided not to participate as beginning to cut water buffaloes would mean we accept the ban. We think we should wait a little longer even though this ban will affect our livelihood severely,” said Junaid Qureshi, one of the butchers at Deonar.
The beef merchants’ associations had on Monday decided to lift the self-imposed ban on slaughter of buffaloes after butchers and caretakers–both daily wage workers–requested the association.
“Seeing the condition of the butchers and caretakers across the state, who live on daily wages, we decided to begin slaughtering. However, we will continue with our agitation and are preparing our legal battle,” said Mohamed Qureshi, president of the Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealer Association.
A delegation of beef dealers also met Minister of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Eknath Khadse to look into the ban. According to those present at the meeting, Khadse promised to arrange a meeting of the state’s beef dealers with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.