The meat business in Uttar Pradesh has badly been hit, affecting the livelihood of a large number of people belonging to the minority and Dalit communities, said the speakers at a public hearing here today. The event, organised by SEHAR, a voluntary group, was attended by small meat-sellers, hotel and dairy owners from Noida, Loni (Ghaziabad) and the Mewat region of Rajasthan and Haryana.
Retired chief justice of the Delhi High Court AP Shah, who was a jury member at the event, 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.” The meat-sellers and hotel and roadside eatery owners from Loni and Noida alleged “harassment” at the hands of the local police. “Around 60-70 shops in the slums of sectors 8,9 and 10 have been shut down by the local authorities. The police ask for no-objection certificates (NOCs), which are not being issued by the authority concerned,” said Ali Nabi, a meat-seller from Noida.
Many sellers and others involved in the meat business said they were facing livelihood issues for months now due to restrictions and the police and local authorities demanding NOCs from them. “My family is in the meat trade for over three decades. But, I am sitting idle now due to the restrictions. I cannot send my kids to school as I have no money,” said Ismail from Noida. CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali, who was also a jury member at the event, alleged that the curbs on the cattle trade in Uttar Pradesh had led to “extortion by corrupt policemen and so-called gau-rakshaks (cow vigilantes)”.
Ali Faiz, owner of a meat shop in Loni, complained that the municipality was not issuing NOCs, even when all the prescribed parameters were met. “Officials are demanding NOCs after the regime change in Uttar Pradesh. The parameters laid down by the Food department have been met by us, but the municipality is still not issuing the NOCs,” he said. The Centre had, on May 23, issued a notification, banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for the purpose of slaughter.
In July, the ban was stayed for a period of three months by the Supreme Court.