Bajrang Dal smells an opportunity in stirring the halal pot, pastes boycott posters

Hindutva call to boycott Halal food, continues to grow unchecked both online and on the streets

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The Hindutva call to boycott Halal food, and therefore target the Muslim community, continues to grow unchecked both online and on the streets, especialy in Karnataka. Soon after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Chikkamagaravalli Thimme Gowda Raavu a.k.a CT Ravi the four-time MLA from Chikmagalur floated the term ‘economic jihad’ his followers in the right-wing ecosystem amplified the call to boycott ‘Halal’ meat which in other words may have translated into an economic boycot of Muslim owned meat shops, or restaurants and targets the community’s eating habits. Now the right-wing has launched its version of social discrimination and put up posters asking people to shun Halal food around Ugadi, celebrated in Karnataka as the Hindu New Year on April 2. 

More dangerously, right-wing vigilante groups have reportedly put up posters asking Hindu vendors to boycott halal meat during Ugadi. According to a report in India Today, this has been done as a group of non-vegetarian Hindus also offer meat to God and celebrate the New Year. The Bajrang Dal has begun to put up posters in the Nelamangala area, asking “Hindu vendors to boycott shops which have halal signs in front of them” stated the news report adding “Ban halal meat” is what the poster says in huge letters. This is the second such ‘poster campaign’ after one was put up recently announcing the exclusion of Muslim vendors from setting up shop at the Hindu religious fairs in many parts of Karnataka, especially in temples’ annual fairs.

Visuals of  Bajrang Dal unit of Chikmagalur district, distributing pamphlets telling Hindus to boycott Halal Meat have also been circulating. According to local journalists the Bajrang Dal men have begun a “door to door campaign”, across the state.


Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told the media that the state government will also look into the ‘halal’ meat issue as “serious objections” are being raised about it. He said, “The halal issue has just started. We have to study it. It’s a practice that is going on. Now serious objections have been raised about it. I will look into it.” According to a report in The HIndustan Times, the state’s Education Minister said, “There’s nothing that the government can do in the matter of Halal meat. It’s a religious practice and some people believe in it. Halal is not the subject that comes under the purview of the government.”

Meanwhile, CT Ravi has defended his “halal is economic jihad” remark claiming that if Muslims are protecting their business interests then Hindus have the right to do the same. According to a report in Times Now, CT Ravi said that if Muslims are rigid then Hindus will be rigid as well and called ‘halal’ a bifurcation, “They are protecting their interests. We are protecting ours. What is the problem? They have set their agenda in the name of halal. Once they are liberal, we will also become liberal.”

The debate continues to rage online as well, and Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw urged Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai to “resolve the growing religious divide” in the state, however, she too was targeted and accused of expressing a “politically-coloured opinion”. 

Shaw, as reported by NDTV has been the first corporate leader to publicly voice concerns on such “communal exclusion”, and said “Karnataka has always forged inclusive economic development and we must not allow such communal exclusion- If ITBT (Information Technology and Biotechnology) became communal it would destroy our global leadership.” However, BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya, accused her of “personal, politically coloured opinion.”

This communal campaign against Halal meat, comes on the heels of the boycot of Muslim vendors, and the Hijab controversy. The All India Lawyers Association For Justice, has also filed a complaint with the authorities alleging that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal in Mangaluru have  perpetrated “an economic boycott” based on religion that is “in gross violation of the Constitution and the IPC.”

What is Halal?

According to the Halal Food Authority, an independent, voluntary non-profit organisation based in the UK, that is “involved in the supervision, inspection, audit, certification, and compliance of halal principles and practices”, ‘halal’ means “permissible- and in translation, it is usually used as lawful”. 

Halal meat it states is that where the animal is slaughtered observing rules such as:  

  • An animal should not be dead before slaughter
  • A Muslim should perform the slaughter using a sharp knife (swift & single cut) severing the major veins, arteries & windepipe without decapitation
  • Any flowing blood of the carcass should be completely drained (Surah Al- An’am 6:145)
  • Choice of modern and in vogue method must be in line with Islamic principles and considered with absolute caution

Halal is “not only limited to meat and poultry but it also extends to other consumables such a beverages, confectionary, dairy and other perishable processed foods,” it states, adding that “to comply with halal requirements, processed food and drinks must be free from any non-halal materials such as pork, ethanol and non-halal meat & their derivatives. They must be processed in a halal compliant environment with no risk of cross contamination from non-halal.”

However it adds that “some lifesaving drugs may be an exception (according to the general consensus of Islamic Scholars).”


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