Mumabi, which consumes nearly 90,000 kg of beef every day, will have to make do without this relatively cheaper meat, with beef traders operating at the Deonar abattoir deciding to go on an indefinite strike from February 11. The Mumbai-based traders are complaining against alleged harassment by right wing groups. Beef is already off the shelves in nearly 75 of the state’s towns and cities as traders in these areas have been on a strike for the past few days.
“In the past, the problem was limited to the run-up to Eid-ul-Adha when animals would be confiscated and our people beaten up by right wing groups, However, since the new government has come to power, we have been facing tremendous hardship in running this business. We are being hounded, our animals confiscated and men attacked. We have now decided to go on an indefinite strike to make people and the government understand our problem,” said Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealer Association president Mohammed Qureshi.
Slaughter of cows is prohibited in the state under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1976. Slaughter of bulls, bullock and buffaloes is allowed based on ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificate. Qureshi has claimed that traders are being hounded in spite of possessing these certificates.
“People do not stop the farmer from selling his animal to a trader. However, when the trader buys the animal following the laid down law, he is hounded and troubled. We have now decided that we cannot take this any longer and will stop this trade until the state intervenes,” he said.
The city has 900 licensed stalls that sell beef and an equal number of illegal stalls. However, the culling and processing of the animals happens only in Deonar, one of the largest abattoirs in the country, where on an average nearly 450 big animals are slaughtered every day. Right wing groups and Jain organisations have been asking for shutting down the abattoir.