Lucknow: On a normal day, 1 pm is the busiest time for "Tunday Kababi", the 100-year-old shop that draws people from India and abroad to the crowded Chowk area of Uttar Pradesh's capital Lucknow. Today, 15 of its 20-odd tables were unoccupied.
New stickers pasted on every wall inside the shop advertise "chicken and mutton kebabs".
The oldest in what is now a chain of shops across Lucknow, Tunday Kababi has served only buffalo meat kebabs since it started.
"People come here for buffalo meat kebabs, am not sure they will take to mutton or even chicken kebabs," said Abu Bakr, manager at the iconic eatery.
The slaughterhouse which supplied buffalo meat was shut down on Wednesday by civic officials who said their "papers are not in order". A number of slaughterhouses, allegedly operating without licences, have been shut down since BJP government led by priest-politician Yogi Adityanath took power on Sunday. Yogi Adityanath, speeding through the BJP's poll promises after taking charge, has ordered a ban on illegal slaughterhouses.
Twenty-five kilogram of buffalo meat used by the Tunday shop daily came from the slaughterhouse.
For the first time in a century, barring curfew or natural disasters, the shop was shut yesterday.
"You see, on a normal day I would not have had the time to speak to you," said Abu Bakr.
"I am willing to go by whatever the government decides, but perhaps everyone should be given some more time to put their house in order if there are any irregularities. Otherwise this will kill my business and many will lose their jobs," he added.
Businessman Mohammad Javed, a regular, went back disappointed yesterday. He said, "Buffalo meat kebabs are also cheaper. So the poor can come here and eat in 30 rupees. Not everyone can pay Rs 50 or 70 for chicken or mutton kebabs. I am totally with the government but legitimate businesses shouldn't be harmed."
As we left the shop, Abu Bakr was cajoling an old-timer on the phone, "Come, come, we have reopened with chicken and mutton kebabs, we promise to try and deliver the same taste."