Two dozen eateries on Food Street continue to serve beef dishes
Even as the J&K Government has shifted one of its senior attorney’s for failing to defend it in the “beef ban case”, the effect of the ban is no where visible on streets of Srinagar where sale of beef dishes continues unabated.
Nearly two dozen food joints on the Food Street, just opposite the famous Ghanta Ghar in the Lal Chowk area, continue to serve beef dishes to customers, ranging from poor to middle class, rural to urban and civil to the police, every day.
The food joints located on the street, on an average, serve 150 kg of beef dishes ranging from kebabs to rista to gushtaba (part of wazwan) to the customers.
The street had been developed by the J&K Tourism Department and falls in the area owned by the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, which along with J&K Police is legally bound to implement the ban reiterated by the J&K High Court last week.
“The Food Street houses 24 food joints, which sell beef dishes and rice to customers. On an average, every shop procures 6 to 7 kg of beef from the local market every day, which comes to a total of 150 kg beef,” said Ali Muhammad Khan, who along with his younger brother Abid Hussain owns a food joint on the street.
Khan said the sale and serving of beef dishes on the street , which was developed and renovated by the J&K Government two years ago, had not even stopped when former J&K Governor Jagmohan tried to restrict “bovine slaughter and sale of beef” in 1985.
Mohammad Yasin, from Gaw Kadal, Mandir Bagh locality of Srinagar, who also owns a food joint on the street, said a lot of visitors and locals prefer beef over mutton as it was cheap.
“Beef sells for around Rs 200 per kg, where as the mutton costs more than Rs 400. So a lot of people, mostly low income and middle class groups, prefer beef dishes,” said Yasin said.
The beef ban, if imposed fully in Srinagar, will affect the livelihood of hundreds of food joint owners who sell beef dishes, he added.
Yasin also said despite the High Court passing the orders for strict implementation of the beef ban no official from the government or the J&K Police had asked the vendors to stop sale of beef.
“How can they stop sale of beef in Kashmir, which is a ‘halal’ food,” said Yasin while serving beef dishes to two policemen who dropped in to have “cheap lunch”.