Several slaughterhouses and meat shops have been shut in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh after the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) comprehensively won state assembly elections in India’s most populous state.
The new chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, is a strong supporter of laws protecting cows, and has publicly opposed beef consumption. The slaughter of cows and consumption of beef is considered taboo by India’s majority Hindu population – and is illegal in most Indian states including Uttar Pradesh.
Reports say that immediately after taking office, one of his first acts was to instruct police officials to crack down on “illegal” slaughterhouses in the state. Locals allege however, that many of them did not kill cows, but animals like goat and buffalo, the slaughter of which is legal.
Most of the butcher shops and slaughter houses in Uttar Pradesh are owned and run by Muslims who make up 18% of the state’s population.