India

India meat traders end strike against Uttar Pradesh closures

Uttar Pradesh butcher shop
Image caption Uttar Pradesh is India's largest meat-producing state

Meat traders in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have ended their strike in protest at the closure of butcher's shops and slaughterhouses considered illegal.

The move follows a meeting between the traders and the state's Hindu hardline Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

He promised to issue licences and also to ensure that slaughterhouses would not be attacked by his supporters.

Most are owned by Muslims, who make up 18% of the state's population.

Mr Adityanath opposes the slaughter and consumption of cows, considered sacred by India's Hindu majority.

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 the businesses did not kill cows but animals like goats and buffalo, the slaughter of which is legal.

They said shops were being shut on technicalities, such as environmental norms. They also said that despite applying for licences, they had not received them.

Chaudhary Aley Ummar Qureshi, a general secretary of one of India's biggest meat traders' associations, said that they decided to call off the strike after the chief minister's assurances.

Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, is also the largest meat-producing state.

The state government is estimated to earn more than 110bn rupees ($1.7bn; £1.3bn) a year from the industry.