New Delhi: Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday said no "pressure or strike" can save illegal slaughterhouses from being shut down in the country.
"This is a question of authorised and unauthorised, of legal and illegal (slaughterhouses). Illegal slaughterhouses are not only a threat to human health but also to the environment," Naqvi said in response to Trinamool Congress member Nadimul Haque who raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha.
"No amount of pressure or strike can save these slaughterhouses from getting closed," the minister said, drawing loud disapproval from the opposition benches.
The issue was raised during the Zero Hour against the backdrop of the ongoing protest shutdown by meat sellers in Uttar Pradesh where the state government has launched a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses. Other states also launched similar drives.
Raising the issue of "arbitrary clamp-down on butchers and meat shops" in several states, Haque said the government couldn't dictate what people should eat.
"There has been an arbitrary clamp-down on butchers and meat shops, not only in Uttar Pradesh but also in Jharkhand and several other states too. Livelihood of crores of people is getting affected. In response, these people have gone on an indefinite strike, which has resulted in meat shortage," he said.
He said because of this, other industries such as leather and hospitality also were suffering.
"Today, 14 per cent of Uttar Pradesh's GDP is at stake," Haque said.
"Trying to dictate what people should consume is taking away their right of choice and an affront to their basic human right. What people do for their living or what their preferred food item is cannot and should not be dictated by the state."