Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cops know I sell buffalo meat: Butcher


Mumbai: Akram Qureshi, he first trader to be arrested in Mumbai for allegedly selling beef, on Wednesday said he was selling buffalo meat and he police have known about his business for years.
“What's my crime? I receive my material from the Deonar abattoir. It's a tactic to harass small people like me,“ he sa d. Qureshi (56) has been told by the Worli police to wind up his business since “he does not have a licence“. The police say Qureshi has been selling meat or six months, but residents of BDD chawl no. 16, where Qureshi lives and has shop, contradict this claim. They say he is a second-generation butcher.

Police seized 29kg of animal flesh from his shop. “We have sent the meat to the government's veterinary doctor at Parel. He will carry out a DNA test. We will decide on our course of action based on he report,“ said senior inspec or Vinay Kulkarni of the Wor i police station. He said Qureshi had produced a buyer's receipt for the meat that was not accepted as it was not in his name. Qureshi said the dealer delivers meat to many shopkeepers in the area and does not give receipts individually .

He said he had approached he BMC in 2012 for a license, but they did not issue it. “I was hen summoned by the Worli police and after verification hey allowed me to go. Cops have known about my business for years.“

If the DNA test result is positive for beef, the police may slap section 5 of the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Amendment) Act that prohib ts the sale, purchase or disposal of cows, bulls or bullocks. The maximum punishment is a five-year jail term and a fine of Rs 10,000. Recently, the Bombay high court directed the state not to take any coercive action till the final hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging the ban takes place on June 25.

The complaint against Qureshi was filed by Bharti Gau Vansh Rakshan Samvardhan Parishad member Sharad Gupta, who lives in Worli and is a lecturer at Mulund College of Commerce. With the arrest of meat trader Akram Qureishi for allegedly selling beef (he insists it was buffalo and not cow meat), other merchants in the city said their worst fears have come true.

While criticizing the cops for not following the spirit of April 29 high court order, which prevented the state from prosecuting anyone in possession of beef from March 4, the day the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act was enforced, till July 29, the merchants have also pulled up those beef sellers who violate the law.

“Akram Qureishi, who worked with me for years before he opened his own shop in Worli, insists that he sold buffalo meat, which is not banned. We have been saying it ever since the Act was enforced that it would become a tool in the hands of Hindutva forces and the cops to harass beef merchants. Till the HC decides the matter, the court has said the state cannot prosecute anyone for beef possession,“ said Mohammed Ali Qureishi, presi dent, Mumbai Beef Dealers' Welfare Association.

“We have warned merchants against violating the law, but due to poor education they are unable to understand the legal provisions,“ added Mohammed Ali Qureishi. There are around 900 licensed shops in the city while beef is sold and around the same number of unlicensed establishments.

Asif Qureishi, a beef merchant at Crawford Market, said that the law was brought in without finding alternative jobs for those who were rendered jobless.

Can't prosecute yet, states HC order
A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice M S Sonak, said: “Possession of the beef (from March 4, when the Act came into force till July 29 or till the HC finally decides the legality of the law) is not prosecutable by the state...The state and police authorities shall not invade a citizen's privacy to find out if they possess beef or any other form of meat.“


No comments:

Post a Comment