Amid the Karnataka hijab row controversy another ban has been imposed on the Muslims by the Hindu extremists, and this time, they have been prohibited to consume Halal meat.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary C.T. Ravi said that Halal meat is part of an “economic jihad” by the Muslim community. He further said that it has been imposed on them so that they don’t have to do business with others.
“When Muslims refuse to buy meat from Hindus, why should you insist Hindus to buy from them?” the BJP legislator from Chikmagalur said in Bengaluru.
He further said that such trade practices are a two-way street. “If Muslims agree to eat non-Halal meat, then Hindus will also use Halal meat.”
According to The Times of India, Karnataka seems to have become the crucible of hate for all things non-Hindu. Whether it’s stopping schools from producing Nativity plays during Christmas or the more recent hijab ban, it’s clearly not a good time to be a minority in the state. Now, the ‘boycott halal food’ campaign has started spreading all over India.
However, some leaders have been condemning this act. The issue of whether people should consume halal meat or any other form of meat is a non-issue but is being made out to be a major issue by right-wing groups to sow the seeds of division in society, Congress leader and former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah said in a joint press conference with state Congress president D K Shivakumar on April 3.
“Unnecessarily they are raising issues that affect relationships and ties between people and communities. These are not issues that are relevant to people or the lives of people. They are raising these issues and disturbing the peace in society,” Siddaramaiah said, during the course of criticising the economic policies of the BJP governments in the state and Centre.
Singer Lucky Ali has also commented amid the boycott calls for products linked to halal meat as the latest political controversy brews in Karnataka, which is already dealing with the issue of hijbas (headscarves) in classrooms. Lucky Ali, who had last year clarified that he wanted to stay away from politics, has made an attempt to give a calmer perspective amid heated arguments.
In a note on Facebook on April 3, the 63-year-old actor-singer wrote: “Dearly Beloved Indian brothers and sisters hope you’re all well..I wanted to explain something to you… ‘halal’ is definitely not for anybody outside of Islam. It’s just that any Muslim will not buy any product just like their Jewish relatives who understand Halal as being similar to Kosher and will not buy any product until and unless it’s certified that the ingredients within a product are according to his or her consumable limitations…” He further shed a light on why products are certified amid calls for boycott. “Now companies want to sell to everyone including the Muslim and Jewish populations, so to sell their product they have to label it as Halal certified or Kosher certified…. but if the people are so bothered by the word ‘halal’ they should just remove it from their counters but one can’t foresee whether the sales would be the same as they were used to.” He signed off the post saying: “with love… and understanding…”
On Saturday, the Congress MLA from Chittapur Assembly Constituency in Kalaburagi District, Priyank Kharge, wrote on his Twitter, “Congratulations
@CMofKarnataka we now have our neighbour telling startups to move to Hyderabad for not only a better infrastructure but also a better social infrastructure. A few more economic jihads from your party will ensure that we neither get investments nor jobs.” He was replying to a tweet from Telangana minister KT Rama Rao on a business invite.
Amid boycott calls, Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra last week said the government has a limited role to play on the issue pertaining to ‘halal’, which is left to the wisdom of people. Jnanendra said the ‘Boycott halal food’ campaign is not a law and order situation but something related to faith and sentiments, “which everyone knows.”
Former chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy lashed out at the BJP, saying that the government is responsible to protect all 65 million people in the state and not just one community, Hindustan Times reported.
He added that the BJP is backing such bans demanded by the right-wing groups as the 2023 assembly elections are in fray.
“I want to ask the government where you want to lead this state to. With folded hands I ask Hindu youths not to spoil the state,” he said.
Meanwhile, 61 progressive thinkers from the state, including K Maralusiddappa, professor S G Siddaramaiah, Bolwar Mahamad Kunhi and Dr Vijaya, have written to chief minister Basavaraj Bommai with an appeal to check religious hatred, PTI reported. Bommai said his government would look into the concerns raised by religious groups.
Responding to queries at a news conference on March 30, he said: “We need to study (the issue) in its entirety. It has nothing to do with rules. It was a practice that was going on. Now, serious objections are raised. We will take a look into.”
According to Hindustan Times, Hindu Janajagrithi Samithi, a right-wing group, said on March 28 that they are starting a campaign against the purchase of halal meat as it is “culled under Islamic practices and cannot be offered to Hindu gods”.
Mohan Gowda, the Samithi spokesperson, told the newspaper, “During Ugadi (considered the New Year for Kannadigas), there are a lot of purchases of meat, and we are starting a campaign against Halal meat. As per Islam, Halal meat is first offered to Allah, and the same cannot be offered to Hindu gods.”