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Maharashtra beef traders' strike enters fifth day, common man hit hard
Chief Minister Fadnavis's assurance fails to end deadlock, vegetable prices soar
Saturday February 14, 2015 6:11 PM, ummid.com & Agencies

Maharashtra beef suppliers, who are on strike since February 11 in Mumbai and February 10 in other places of Maharashtra, have vowed to continue their protest if a clearer policy is not announced by the BJP-led state government, the beef suppliers' association said Saturday.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnvais had on Friday assured protection to beef traders in Maharashtra saying the rule of law will be followed and no one will be allowed to harass traders in the state. But, his assurance has failed to convince the traders.

"The CM assured us that he was bound to uphold law and order in the state and everyone who is doing a legal business would not be unnecessarily harassed. The assurance however is not sufficient," said Mohammed Qureshi, president of the Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealer Association.

Harassment of the beef and animal traders by the Hindu right-wing extremists has been a norm in Maharashtra and other places of the country. They have however become violent and more vocal after the BJP came to power in the state and at the centre.

"In the past, the problem was limited to the run-up to Eid-ul-Adha when animals would be confiscated and our people beaten up by right wing groups. However, since the new government has come to power, we have been facing tremendous hardship in running this business", Qureshi said.

"We are being hounded, our animals confiscated and men attacked. This is why we decided to go on an indefinite strike to make people and the government understand our problems," he added.

"People do not stop the farmer from selling his animal to a trader. However, when the trader buys the animal following the laid down law, he is hounded and troubled. We have now decided that we cannot take this any longer and will stop this trade until the state intervenes," he said.

Meanwhile, based on the CM's assurance, several associations of beef traders and butchers will hold a meeting in Malegaon and Solapur on Saturday where they are likely to take a call on their future course of action.

With traders on strike, beef has not been available in nearly 75 major towns and villages of Maharashtra. Beef is also not available in Deonar, which is one of the largest markets supplying nearly 90,000 kg of beef to Mumbai every day. The effect of strike is also on meat exporters who are incurring a heavy loss due to the strike.

The worst hit however are common people as the prices of vegetables have soared becuase of the strike.

"We are paying 40% more to buy vegetables. The prices have gone up after the beef traders went on strike", Sakeena Saifi said while talking to ummid.com.




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