Aligarh's Muslim industrialists and traders will now have their own business lobby after the Udyog Vyapar Mandal (Industrial Trade Board) refused to back meat traders.
The decision to form a Muslim Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) was taken after a meeting attended by a large number of businessmen at Aligarh last week, according Jasim Mohammed, director, Media Centre Aligarh.
By another resolution, the MCCI has asked Aligarh's district magistrate to take steps for the smooth conduct of meat business without any threat or hurdle and to take legal action against those who are threatening meat traders to extract money and political mileage.
Jasim Mohammed pointed out that Aligarh is an important centre of the meat trade and meat is also exported. If any organization or individual creates hurdles in its way it would be considered illegal, he said.
Muslim businessmen say "there is a difference between beef and meat. Religious sentiments are associated with beef and we respect them.
"We oppose the conspiracy to shut down legal meat business in Aligarh by some vested interest and communalized organisations," said Razaullah Khan, managing director of Vision Academia Publications Private Limited while chairing the meeting at Media Centre Aligarh.
The Udyog Vyapar Mandal, which should have supported the meat traders, itself become a party in opposing it due to the politicisation of the issue, he alleged.
Nikhat Parveen, director of Alisha Publications, said that usually the Vyapar Mandal ignores Muslim traders due to its politicisation. "We pay taxes and do our business legally, but our interests are ignored by the government as well as the administration," she added.
Abdul Hamid of the UP Muslim Halwai Welfare Association said that apart from the meat business, there are other traditional businesses which Muslims are engaged in and they have to face considerable hurdles.
"Due to the wrong policies and neglect by the government, the handloom industry is dying," he said.