Rajya Sabha

March 31, 2017

Nadimul Haque speaks on the crackdown on meat-sellers across the country

Nadimul Haque speaks on the crackdown on meat-sellers across the country


Sir, the Constitution guarantees us certain freedoms. We are all one. The Prime Minister talks of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ but sirf kehne se nahin, karke dikhana hoga. We have to do it, to make it meaningful. The Government has to be for all. We need to safeguard our Constitution and allow it to guide us”.

The Constitution of India grants us Fundamental Rights which guarantees civil liberties. Our right to Freedom incorporates the right to practice any profession or occupation of our choosing to earn a respectable living and lead a life of dignity.

Sir, the recent events happening in states across the country paint a worrying picture of the lack of inclusiveness in our country. Reports have been pouring in of meat shops being shut down at a moment’s notice not only in Uttar Pradesh, but in Jharkhand, and other States also.

If the aim was to shut down illegal slaughterhouses, it could have been done in a proper manner. Most of the shopkeepers and butchers come from the backwards section of society, and have followed these professions for generations. They may not know the legal technicalities. The Government could have raised an awareness campaign, or at the very least afforded them some time to upgrade their shops and abattoirs as per legal norms. We are talking about 25 lakh people losing their livelihood, their families without any means to sustain themselves. This arbitrary crackdown on butchers and meat sellers is an encroachment on their right to earn a living.

The sudden clampdown on abattoirs has resulted in widespread economic and social distress in the Rs 15000 crore industry. Meat sellers have gone on strike, resulting in a huge shortage of meat and prices skyrocketing. 14% of GDP of Uttar Pradesh is also at stake.

The strike has in turn also affected other industries like leather (tanneries), export and hotels. This is leading to a huge economical loss. Reports are circulating of how even tigers and lions in zoos are being fed chicken meat, which they are refusing to eat. The government should have drawn a road map and assessed the impact of such a drastic move before implementing it.

The duty of a responsible government should be to safeguard the rights and freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution to all citizens. Otherwise, we will eventually turn into a Police State. What people do for a living or what their preferred food item is, cannot, and should not, be dictated by the State. I would urge you to look into this matter urgently and take the necessary steps to ensure equality for all as enshrined in our Constitution.


Sir I want to end with a couplet


Tere bandish ka jawab nahin.

Parathe khao, kebab nahi

Munh se niwale kyun chhin lete ho,

Koi mare ya jeeye, saath nahi