No beef sale in Goa from Saturday, traders protest against vigilantism

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Panaji, Jan 5 : Harassed by vigilante groups, Goa’s only beef traders association on Friday said they will go on an indefinite strike from Saturday, until the government cracks down on vigilante groups who hamper bringing in beef from neighbouring states.

The association said the strike would go on till the government eases procedures to bring beef into the coastal state.

Speaking to IANS, Manna Bepari, President of the Qureshi Meat Traders Association of Goa said no beef would be available for sale in Goa, until the government steps in and resolves the issue.

“We are tired of these raids. They are not allowing our business to function. Every other day these groups target the beef consignments which we order from the open market in Karnataka and government officials also keep harassing us,” Bepari said.

“No beef shop will be open until the government helps us and stops these vigilant groups from taking law in their hands,” Bepari said.

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He also said that more than five raids were conducted in the last few weeks, especially during the Christmas and New Year period, when sale of beef is at its peak in Goa.

Beef is normally consumed in the form of stew, curries, roasts, soups and is an essential protein, and one of the cheapest meats in most Christian and Muslim homes in the state.

Minorities comprise more than 30 per cent of the state’s 1.5 million population.

Cheaper than mutton, beef is also commonly consumed in the tourism-oriented coastal belt, which sees nearly six million tourists, half a million of which are foreigners.

According to official statistics from the Goa Meat Complex, the state’s only abattoir facility allowed to slaughter cattle and buffaloes, the state consumes nearly 30 tonnes of fresh beef every day.

And with the Complex not functioning to full capacity over the last few months, a majority of the beef is brought in from Karnataka by the meat traders in Goa.