One of Lucknow’s most iconic eateries, the century-old Tunday Kababi, is the latest victim of the crackdown on illegal meat shops and slaughterhouses, ordered by the newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh. The establishment at Akbari Gate, which dates back to 1905, shut shop on Wednesday because of a scarcity of buffalo meat in the state capital, which had its four slaughterhouses sealed between 2013 and 2015.
It reopened on Thursday but its menu did not include the famous “badey ka kabab” or buffalo meat kebabs. For the first time since it was established, the restaurant served chicken and mutton kebabs. “Customers are getting angry,” said Abu Baqr, who runs the Akbari Gate outlet. “It is costly to me also and has ruined our speciality.”
Abu Baqr’s cousin Mohammad Usman runs another outlet, also called Tunday Kababi, at Aminabad. This outlet has a more diversified menu, serving chicken and mutton in addition to buffalo meat. It remained open on Wednesday and Thursday. Usman said the supply of mutton and chicken had not been affected so far, but expressed apprehensions about a meat shortage in Uttar Pradesh. The owner said he had heard rumours that even chicken and fish were not being sold in Kanpur on Wednesday, though this was not independently confirmed by Scroll.in.
In its election manifesto, the BJP had promised it would shut illegal slaughterhouses and stop cattle smuggling to help boost the dairy industry in the state. The party formed a government in Uttar Pradesh after a landslide victory, with Gorakhnath Math priest Adityanath at the helm. Adityanath had started a movement against illegal slaughterhouses in his constituency in 2002. Since he was sworn in on March 15, the state administration has carried out several raids and sealed many slaughterhouses in the region.
So far, nine meat shops have been shut down in Lucknow, but there are at least 200 to 250 illegal meat shops in the city, according to the Lucknow Municipal Corporation. “There are shops running in shanties that are not following norms. Such shops need to be regulated or closed down,” Chief Veterinary Officer of the LMC AK Rao told The Indian Express. The civic body has launched a comprehensive drive across 11 districts – Lucknow, Unnao, Barabanki, Rae Bareli, Sitapur, Hardoi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar.
On Wednesday, three buffalo meat processing plants belonging to a former Bahujan Samaj Party legislator’s family were sealed in Meerut. Though the owners said they had all the requisite approvals to run the establishment, which had been around for 14 years, officials told them they were not following the terms of the licence.
On the same day, a slaughterhouse in Varanasi was raided and sealed by a joint team of authorities from the Pollution Control Board, municipality, administration and police, NDTV reported. Ten other meat shops were shut down in Ghaziabad. The police raids in the region prompted owners of 10 more slaughterhouses to shut shop, the police said. Officials told NDTV that 34 illegal meat shops and slaughterhouses had been closed in Ghaziabad since March 15. The region has some 210 illegal meat shops.
On Tuesday, three meat shops owned by members of the Muslim community in Hathras were set ablaze, allegedly by a mob.