Lucknow,Deepak Gidwani: In a unique initiative which could go a long way in checking communal disturbances over cow slaughter, the Qureshi community of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh has decided to impose a complete social boycott of those who indulge in any kind of business in cow meat. Cow slaughter is banned in UP but buffaloes can be killed for their meat, as is the case in several other states across the country.
Qureshis have been traditionally following the metyr of butchery, though most Muslim communities engage in the meat business in one way or the other. This is the first time that the Qureshis have taken such a decision. It assumes significance in the light of the recent lynching of one Akhlaq in Dadri (west UP) over rumours that he and his family consumed cow meat.
“We will not have any relation, business or personal, with anyone dealing in cow meat,” says Shamim Qureshi, president of a body of Qureshis dominant in west UP. “We will soon form teams and co-ordinate with police and district administration officials to crack down on those who are indulging in cow slaughter and bringing a bad name to our community,” he said.
He said that the Qureshis would not keep “roti-beti ka rishta” with such “criminals” meaning that they would not have marital or business relations with people who dealt in cow meat.
Most of the state’s 3,000-odd abattoirs are in west UP which is also notorious for the high incidence of communal riots. Since June last year, UP has witnessed as many as 330 incidents of communal violence of which 216 took place in west UP alone.
Police officials admit that many slaughterhouses in the state are running illegally but the government can do little to shut them down owing to the sensitivity of the minority community as also the political patronage this industry enjoys.
“Most of the slaughterhouses are connected in one way or the other to political leaders of the SP or the BSP,” revealed a senior police official who has spent the larger part of his career in west UP. Interestingly, BJP MLA Sangeet Som, one of the main accused in the horrific September 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, was also a director of a meat processing company, though he resigned later.
It is also a well-known fact that hundreds of cows are smuggled every day into Nepal or to the north-eastern states, where cow slaughter is not prohibited, for consumption. These cows are the ones which have stopped giving milk and have been left to roam the streets by their owners.
UP’s controversial Muslim minister Azam Khan perhaps made a factual statement when he said that Hindus owned and ran more slaughterhouses than Muslims. He has also called upon the Centre to completely ban slaughter of cow and buffalo in the country as many communal disturbances had been caused by the confusion over buffalo meat with beef, which is cow meat.
Strangely enough, though, the BJP manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha election promised a National Cattle Development Board, it was silent on curbing buffalo meat exports