Hostels at Aligarh Muslim University have been preparing only vegetarian meals for the past three to four days because of an acute shortage of meat in Uttar Pradesh, a change the students are finding hard to swallow. The paucity of meat in the state has been caused by the crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses and shops ordered by the newly formed Bharatiya Janata Party government. Before the shortage hit the state, students at AMU were served meat with at least with one meal every day.

“For around three to four days, meat has been not available, students go back disappointed,” Imtiyaz Ahmed Khan, the dining hall in-charge at AMU, told ANI. The students have written to the university vice chancellor seeking a solution. “We are forced to eat vegetables. This is really not acceptable,” said Students’ Union President Faizul Hassan.

Hassan feels that the shortage of meat in the state might lead to an increase in mess fees. “Chicken prices have gone up from Rs 120 to Rs 220 per kilogram, vegetable prices have also increased,” he told The Indian Express. “Students from middle- and lower-middle classes may suffer due to this.”

The university is believed to have told them that it was not possible for them to arrange more than 500 kg of buffalo meat for 19 dining halls every day since no abattoirs were functioning in Aligarh.

“Of the seven slaughterhouses in Aligarh, four are operational at present,” Kalika Singh, regional officer of UP Pollution Control Board, told The Times of India. “But due to non-availability of animals, they, too, are not providing any meat.” The municipal corporation’s abattoir was reportedly shut down in 2014. The administration has called a meeting on Thursday to discuss the problem.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen leader Asaduddin Owaisi took up the issue on Twitter. “15,000 students in Aligarh Muslim University have not been served meat [buffalo] since 26 March and BJP says we are not targeting?” he wrote on Monday.

The situation worsened on March 27 after meat sellers across Uttar Pradesh declared an indefinite strike against the crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses. They alleged that that they were being targeted under the new dispensation. Several other states, including Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, have followed UP’s lead and started shutting down meat shops.