Andhra Pradesh

Beef trade takes a hit in Telangana

Beef which would cost only about Rs. 80 a kg five years ago, costs Rs. 260 now, according to Hyderabad traders.

Beef which would cost only about Rs. 80 a kg five years ago, costs Rs. 260 now, according to Hyderabad traders.  

Right-wing vigilantism, police raids put traders on the edge

Mohd. Zainuddin Qureshi is a hassled man. More than three weeks ago and a couple of days before Bakrid, two consignments comprising 44 animals of his were seized near Kazipet of Warangal district in Telangana.

After paying Rs. 16,000 to Rs. 17,000 each for the animals, all bulls, at Parkal Market, about 40 km from Kazipet, his men were bringing them to the city along with relevant documents—a receipt from the market and certificates by assistant director of the Animal Husbandry Department confirming that the animals were fit for slaughter.

A case was slapped against him and his partners under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and the Prohibition of Cow Slaughter and Animal Preservation Act. All the animals were sent away to a ‘gaushala’ (cow shelter) in the nearby Dharmasagar, and by the time Mr. Qureshi’s partner obtained a release order from the court, five animals died.

“They moved the animals to three places before sending them to the cow shelter, which caused the deaths. Not only have I lost the Bakrid income, but also incurred huge losses. To top it all, the police say I have to pay for the maintenance of the animals at ‘gaushala.’ Who will compensate for my loss?” Mr. Qureshi, also the Al Quresh Social Welfare Association’s general secretary, laments.

He has been idle for the past three weeks, waiting to repay the loan he had taken for purchase of the animals.

Atmosphere of fear

Qureshis are traditional butcher community among Muslims, and eke out a living only through animal trade and slaughter. The rising right-wing vigilantism masked under the protection offered by the two laws is proving a menace for them. The business has come down, and beef which would cost only about Rs. 80 a kg five years ago, costs Rs. 260 now. About four to five years ago, the business was hassle-free. Now, we are being stopped at unexpected points, threatened and blackmailed with police cases. We cannot protest, first due to fear of being mobbed by the villagers, and secondly, due to the delay a police case would cause. So, we pay up the ransom, which increases our costs,” says Mr. Qureshi, and adds occasions are not rare when 40-50 people arrive with slogans, and throw stones at the transporters.

In his 60s, he vouches that the vigilantism has increased since the time Praveen Togadia of VHP began his visits to the city. A city-based MLA from the BJP, he alleges, is behind the indoctrination. S. Jeevan Kumar, president of HRF says both the Acts, while inherently being against Muslims, are also being used against Muslims alone.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 9:14:25 PM |

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