Four arrested for issuing ‘notice’ to bakery to remove halal info, had called it ‘discriminatory’

Communal forces fuelling ‘halal’ food controversy to divide Christian, Muslims in Kerala, fail once again


The right-wing controversy cooks have been regularly reheating the ‘halal’ food controversy to divide Christians and Muslims in Kerala. The state has proven in the recently concluded local elections that they oppose any Hindutva agenda. However, the right-wing has not given up yet, food politics is one of its core agendas. 

Recently, a bakery in Kerala, named ‘Mody’, was reportedly forced to remove the ‘Halal’ sticker from its goods. This was done after pressure from a Hindutva group named ‘Hindu Aikya Vedi’. The group’s Parakkadavu unit president Arun Aravind and secretary Dhanesh Prabhakaran had sent a ‘notice to the bakery on December 28, warning them that classifying food as halal was ‘discrimination in the name of food’, and that was “criminal”.

Arun Aravind and his associates were soon arrested for sending this ‘notice’ and demanding its removal calling halal ‘discriminatory’.

According to a news report in The Hindu, the ‘notice’ stated, “The sticker notifying ‘halal’ should be removed within 7 days of the receipt of the notice and such discriminatory descriptions should henceforth be avoided from your future advertisements, failing which the Hindu Aikya Vedi will be forced to boycott the shop and launch protests.” 

The Indian Union Muslim League termed the campaign against Halal meat as a controversy to target Muslims. According to news reports, Hindu Aikya Vedi’s leader Arun Aravind and some others visited the bakery and insisted on non-halal food. However, they were informed that only halal food was served. This seems to have riled them into retorting, “The panchayat does not have enough members of the community to warrant publicising of ‘halal’ food. Those who need it will ask and there is no need for such a notification,” he is reported to have said. He followed up with the ‘notice’, which soon  viralled on social media/

Arvind was and his associates were soon arrested and a case has been registered against the four. According to Times Now, they have now been released on bail.

However, it is important to note that the right-wing’s anti-halal food campaign, as it were, got a shot in the arm as a Christian groups in Kerala had also called for a boycott of Halal Meat ahead of Christmas 2020. According to news reports the Kochi based Christian group Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) had urged Christians not to buy Halal food anymore. As expected some Hindu groups also supported the boycott call. However, that campaign probably failed and did not make further news.

Halal, or the ritualistic slaughter of animals for meat is followed by Muslims, and is believed to drain meat of blood and render free of germs, bacteria, and toxins. Many Hindus consume meat slaughtered using the ‘Jhatka’ or ‘one swift cut’ method, where the animals’ head is severed and it is killed instantly. The Jews have their own dietary laws that are known as Kosher, and prescribe how meat should be harvested and handled.

Many religious communities have their own strict dietary laws, even if they are all vegetarian. The Jain community for example has guidelines that forbid certain foods such as certain root vegetables, which are followed by many. Some Hindus follow diets that do not contain onions, and garlic etc. While food is, and must remain a personal choice, right wing groups across religion use it as a tool for further division, often targeting Muslims, Tribals, Dalits, Chritans for what they chose to eat. Every year around Bakrid, a new controversy around animal slaughter erupts dampening the festive spirit for the Muslim community.

The worst was seen recently when the Madhya Pradesh government recently denied giving eggs to its malnourished children. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had even said  that the inclusion of eggs in anganwadi meals would never become a reality as long as he remained in power.



Bakrid and the forced controversy around animal sacrifice

UP BJP MLA asks people not to buy vegetables from Muslim vendors




Related Articles