Three meat shops owned by members of the Muslim community in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, were set ablaze, allegedly by a mob, late on Tuesday. This comes days after the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in the state and promised action against illegal abattoirs. A number of establishments operating without licences have shut down or been sealed by the government ever since.
In keeping with the BJP’s promise, Chief Minister Adityanath on Wednesday directed the police to begin closing down slaughterhouses across the state. He also ordered a blanket ban on the smuggling of cows in the state, The Economic Times reported.
The owners of the Hathras shops have not filed a police complaint so far, CNN News18 reported. “There are no eyewitnesses to what happened since the shops caught fire at night,” the district’s Superintendent of Police Dilip Kumar told Scroll.in. “Investigations are on to find out how the fire was started,” he said.
The state’s new chief minister, 44-year old priest Adityanath, has long campaigned against the meat industry as part of his hardline Hindutva politics. This has resulted in multiple orders to the Uttar Pradesh Police to be strict on cattle transporters and slaughterhouses soon after the government was sworn in on March 15.