The Islamic festival of Eid al Adha is set to kick off on Sunday 11 September in India and police have been tasked with taking samples of biriyani from street food stalls in Mewat, Haryana, to check for beef – a meat that is illegal to sell in the state. This comes despite statistics from the National Crime Record Bureau showing high levels of reported criminality in the state.
The unusual police order comes direct from the government of Haryana, according to a Times of India report on 7 September.
Mewat is the only one of Haryana’s 21 districts with a Muslim-majority population, and the directive came after the state government received a number of complaints that street vendors may be serving biriyani with beef, according to reports.
The decision has been met with a wide range of responses on social media, from ridicule targeted at the government for trying to control Indian diets, to support for the crackdown.
Despite India being one of the world’s largest beef exports, slaughter and consumption in the country is an incredibly taboo subject due to the religious significance of the cow in Hindu religion. Only three of India’s 23 states allow the slaughter of cows and law-breakers could face up to 10 years in prison.
Last year, a 50-year-old man was murdered by a lynch mob in the state of Uttar Pradesh over rumours he and his family had been storing and eating beef.