“Main bol raha hun Tunday Kababi se, par humare paas iss waqt chicken kabab tayyar hai.” (I am speaking from Tunday Kababi but we only have chicken kababs ready at the moment)
This seems to have become Abu Bakr’s standard sentence as soon as someone calls him and asks, “Tunday kababi?” especially since Wednesday. As the BJP delivers on its poll promise of shutting down illegal slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow’s most renowned, legendary kebab shop has come under duress. On Wednesday, as the Lucknow Municipal Corporation sealed nine meat shops in the capital, the Tunday Kababi shop at Akbari Gate in Lucknow shut shop for a whole day owing to lack of buffalo meat. Even though it has restarted operations today, the conditions look bleak. Bakr, who works at the Akbari Gate branch, says his shop has been selling only buffalo meat for the past 100 years.
“We were forced to shut shop yesterday. Today, our shop is open but we have to sell chicken kababs. Buffalo meat is not available,” he told indianexpress.com. He clarified that only his shop has been affected. The shop in Aminabad, another market in the city, continued business as it sold mutton and chicken kababs apart from buffalo, he said.
The lack of buffalo meat has affected customers as well. “The whole place is quiet. No one is buying anything. Only one person is sitting and eating here today,” he said. Bakr does not have any idea when the meat will be available again but he wants to request newly-inducted chief minister Yogi Adityanath to make way for buffalo meat soon enough so that his business can be up and running.
In Hathras on Wednesday, four shops selling mutton were torched by unidentified persons. Police said a case has been registered and locals are being questioned in connection with the incident. In Ghaziabad, police sealed 10 meat shops and four slaughterhouses, all of which were reportedly illegal.
Police have also cracked down on illegal slaughterhouses in other cities like Unnao, Barabanki, Rae Bareli, Sitapur, Hardoi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar. The BJP has maintained that the increasing number of slaughter houses in the state had impeded the dairy business. Chief Minister Adityanath has ordered police officials to prepare an action plan for the closure of illegal slaughter houses in the state.