Two years ago, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had directed officials to shut down all illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops in the state.
As reported by Swarajya recently, many such units have either reopened or never shut down in the first place.
Recently, a Swarajya journalist visited Agra district’s Mantola locality and found an illegal slaughterhouse operating in the heart of a residential colony named Teela Nandgram.
In fact, the journalist had visited the area to report about communal clashes but went to the slaughterhouse after residents complained about it and appealed to take their grievance to the administration.
The towering walls of the slaughterhouse managed to hide the activities from public view but the drains were clogged with the waste.
Residents said that in 2017, a team of officials came and inspected the site but no action was taken.
"This slaughterhouse has been operating illegally for many years. Most of the work is carried out in the morning around 6 am and they simply dump the carcasses in the open. It stinks so bad that children are forced to take a longer route to reach school," a resident said, requesting not to be named.
"In the hope that Yogiji is serious about the issue, we gave several written applications to the police and district magistrate but nothing happened," he said.
But after the journalist posted photos of the illegal unit on social media platform Twitter, the official handle of Agra police responded that action is being taken. Two days later, the handle informed the journalist that the unit has been sealed and seven people have been arrested.
Dainik Jagran and The Times of India reported that the arrested men - Sagir, Mohammad Sadiq, Mohammad Chand Qureshi, Imran, Raja Ali, Babu and Bantu - have been booked under various provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, Food Safety and Standards Act, Arms Act, Environment Conservation Act and the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
When police raided the unit, they recovered three slaughtered goats, one slaughtered lamb and three knives, as per the reports.
The action by the Agra police has been termed as “an act of hatred against the Muslim community” by Mohammad Sharif Kale, convenor of All India Jumat-ul-Quresh Agra unit.
However, as TOI has reported, Agra civic body chief veterinary officer Yogesh Sharma has clarified that in 2016, the National Green Tribunal recommended that the unit be shut down as it was causing pollution and inconvenience in a dense residential locality.