Kashmiri sheep importers are again in trouble with some 'self-styled' animal rights activists at Lakahanpur cautioning them against loading more than 70 animals in one truck.
Earlier, some goons in Madhavpora (Punjab) were illegally charging some "tax" from the JK-bound trucks carrying animals.
CM Mehbooba Mufti had written her Punjab counterpart regarding the Madhavpur issue.
Mehraj-u-din Ganie, acting president of Mutton Dealers' Association said the so-called 'animal rights activists' at Lakhanpur are dictating terms to Kashmiri truckers and harassing them in the name of 'animal rights violations', said.
"These self styled activists issue fake notices to drivers threatening them to carry only 70 sheep in one truck or else face action," he said, adding that these 'fake activists' are claiming to be representing Union Minister and animal rights activist Menaka Gandhi's group.
"They ask us to install net fencing in our trucks for livestock instead of keeping the vehicle compartment open. Loading only 70 sheep in one truck means huge losses for us and will shoot up mutton prices here by at least Rs 100 per kg." Mehraj said.
He said these self-styled activists have threatened that failure of drivers to modify trucks and reduce load of livestock till Wednesday will result in 'seizure' of vehicles.
Ganie said, "In case these goons on the highway continued such activities, it will have an impact on the mutton supply, which will in turn affect current wedding season and forthcoming Ramadhan."
Pertinently, more than one lakh people are directly or indirectly involved in the mutton retail business in the Valley with almost Rs 5000 crore worth mutton being imported here every year.
"Our drivers are made to wait on the highway for hours and so called activists bully them. I have even posted this issue on Facebook page of CM Mehbooba Mufti but to no avail," he said.
When contacted, A R War, Additional Commissioner (Kashmir) said the mutton dealers have already informed him about the latest issue of harassment by a group claiming to represent Menaka Gandhi. He said DC Lakhanpur will be contacted in this regard soon. "We will get in touch with the concerned official to check who these activists are and act accordingly," War said.