Muslim Meat Seller Attacked as Karnataka Hindutva Groups Now Train Focus on 'Halal' Meat

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai had, a day earlier, said the state government would look into the "serious objections" over halal meat.

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New Delhi: Amidst a statewide boycott of Muslim traders led by Hindutva activists, members of the Bajrang Dal physically attacked a Muslim meat seller in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district. Five men were arrested.

After a ban on the hijab in educational institutions and Muslim vendors being boycotted from temple festivals, communal politics in Karnataka has now focused on the issue of ‘halal’ meat.

‘Halal’ in Arabic means ‘permissible’. It is meat cut in accordance with Islamic laws and although it is sold for consumption by Muslims, non-Muslims across India purchase meat from ‘halal’ shops too.

However, at a time of the year when to celebrate a festival on the day after Ugadi a section of Hindus prepare non-vegetarian feasts – Indian Express has reported that meat sales usually double at this time – Hindutva bodies have been amping up a call for the ban of ‘halal’ meat.

Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other Hindu outfits have been running a door-to-door campaign asking people not to use halal meat. They have been distributing leaflets as well. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has offered tacit support to the movement. BJP national general secretary C.T. Ravi on Tuesday, March 29, had even called halal food “economic jihad”.

Also read: As Violence Against Muslims Escalates, Online Hindutva Propaganda Pushes Economic Boycott

Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai had, a day later on March 30, said the state government would look into the “serious objections” over halal meat.

“We have to study in entirety, because it has nothing to do with any rules. It is a practice which was going on. Now, serious objections have been raised regarding it. We will look into that,” Bommai said.

Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra on Thursday, March 31, said the government has a limited role to play on the issue, which is “left to the wisdom of people.”

On the same day a Muslim meat seller was attacked in Shivamogga’s Bhadravathi.

The news agency ANI has reported Shivamogga Superintendent of Police (SP) B.M. Laxmi Prasad as having said that “Bajrang Dal activists argued and then attacked a Muslim vendor” and that an FIR has been registered.

The incident took place as Bajrang Dal members were agitating against halal meat. The police complaint notes that the activists asked the victim to sell “non-halal” meat. When he said that such meat was not prepared yet and would need to be arranged, the Hindutva activists beat him up.

In another incident in the same district, police registered a case against the same Bajrang Dal activists for allegedly threatening and abusing a hotelier for not serving “non-halal” meat to them, ANI has further reported.