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Beef traders may call strike again - this time countrywide
Wednesday February 25, 2015 12:38 PM, ummid.com & Agencies

The beef traders following the assurances given to them by the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government in Maharashtra had called off their week-long state-wide strike resuming beef processing at many facilities.


[A majority of India's beef comes from buffaloes, which are not worshipped, but members of Hindu nationalist groups involved in protests such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) consider themselves protectors of both cows and buffaloes. (A BBC Photo)]

However a stand-off between the beef traders and the government looks eminent - this time at the national level, as the proposed action-plan against the troublemakers are yet to show effect on the ground.

"We will monitor the situation for a month and if the promises are not kept we will launch a nation-wide protest," Mohammad Ali Qureshi, President of the Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers Association said, while talking to Reuters.

Hindu extremist groups in India have stepped up attacks on the country's beef industry, seizing trucks with cattle bound for abattoirs and blockading meat processing plants in a bid to halt the trade in the world's second-biggest exporter.

An official at a beef transport group in Maharashtra state while talking to Reuters said around 10 vehicles traveling to Mumbai had been stopped, the animals taken forcefully and drivers beaten by members of Hindu nationalist groups despite carrying valid documents.

"We are doing everything legally, but these people harass us and disrupt our work for no reason," said Mohammad Shahid Sheikh, president of the beef transporters' group in Deonar, the site of India's biggest abattoir on the outskirts of Mumbai.

Officials in Maharashtra, which has seen some of the most violent protests against beef traders, have pledged to arrest anyone found impeding access to slaughterhouses or disrupting cattle movement. A circular had been sent to all the police units to enforce this and was due to be implemented immediately, according to a senior police officer.

But, those opposed to the trade vowed to keep staging protests.

"We don't care if the butchers shut shop or announce a strike," said Laxmi Narayan Chandak, head of the Maharashtra unit of VHP's cow protection committee, which says it has been seizing cows held illegally for slaughter for years.

"The previous government supported the butchers to secure votes of the minority community but they have no support in the new government", he added.

A majority of India's beef comes from buffaloes, which are not worshipped, but members of Hindu nationalist groups involved in protests such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) consider themselves protectors of both cows and buffaloes.




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