A delegation of the All India Jamiatul Quresh met with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday to find a solution to the stalemate between the state government and the meat sellers. The meeting failed to end the strike, which entered its ninth day on Thursday, but the delegation said a decision on this would be taken on Friday.

UP Cabinet minister Siddharth Nath Singh said legal slaughterhouses will not be asked to shut down and the traders will not be harassed. “We are convinced that our concerns will be taken up by the government seriously. We presented our all of our issues before the chief minister, but he was not even aware of some of them,” Jamiatul Quresh chief Haji Yousuf Qureshi said.

Qureshi said the previous Samajwadi Party government’s urban development minister Azam Khan had cheated them as he had not renewed the licences of many meat sellers. “We were not aware as the slaughterhouses were the property of the government. The BJP government clarified that the action was taken as per the previous government’s order,” Qureshi added. The chief minister has assured him that no action will be taken against legal abattoirs, he said.

There are no slaughterhouses run by the private sector in UP as all of them are owned by the municipal authorities. In Bareilly, one slaughter house is ready under the public-private partnership mode and is likely to be functional from April.

Qureshi claimed the strike had been called by local shopkeepers and said he would talk to them. “Maybe in a few days a model for the renewal of their licences will be adopted, so that they can open their shops. We also have requested that they maybe given permission to continue their business and a time frame is decided for them to renew their licence. Till then we cannot commit on the strike, it will continue and the real picture will emerge tomorrow,” he said.

The meeting took place after an acute shortage of meat across the state. On March 27, meat sellers across Uttar Pradesh had 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.