Several slaughterhouses and meat stores have reportedly been closed in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won state assembly elections this month.
Recently-appointed as Uttar Pradesh chief minister, Adityanath Yogi wants tougher laws protecting cows and has publicly opposed beef consumption in the past.
Reports in India suggest that, immediately after he assumed office, one of Yogi’s first acts was to launch a crackdown on cow smuggling and called for an action plan to close “illegal slaughterhouses”.
A statement from his office on 22 March 2017 backs up this claim, with Yogi calling for an “immediate and complete ban on cow smuggling”.
The country’s Hindu-majority population considers slaughter and consumption of beef in India as taboo. It is also illegal in many Indian states including Uttar Pradesh.
It is not known how prevalent the consumption and/or slaughter of cows is in Uttar Pradesh, but the state government announcement would suggest it is clearly a problem for the new minister.
According to local media reports, the Lucknow Municipal Corporation estimated there were between 200-250 illegal meat shops in the city of Lucknow, Utter Pradesh.
In the statement, Yogi’s office said: “Deliberating on illegal slaughterhouses being run in various cities and towns, the chief minister directed concerned officers to immediately make an action plan to close down all such units. The chief minister also warned officers against any laxity with regards to this issue.”
The statement said that alleged criminals involved in cow smuggling would face “stringent action”, but did not specify what form that action would take.