Shambhu Gavare of the HJS claimed that An increasing demand for halal products in India is forcing Hindu business owners to get halal certification, claims Shambhu Gavare of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti
NEW DELHI — Far-right Hindutva outfit, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS), has launched a protest against Halal certification for various products. The Hindu organisation and Halal Sakhti Virodhi Kriti Samiti (Action Committee against Forceful Halal) held a demonstration against what they called “Halal Jihad” at Dhanbad’s busy Randhir Verma Chowk on Tuesday, media reports said.
Dhanbad is the second-most populated city in Jharkhand.
Shambhu Gavare of the HJS claimed that an increasing demand for halal products in India is forcing Hindu business owners to get halal certification. He said that while earlier the idea of halal was limited to meat products and exports to Islamic countries, now various products such as sugar, oil, flour, chocolate, sweets, cosmetics, medicines, etc. are also being halal certified.
He went on to claim that when the Indian government certifies products through authorised bodies like FSSAI and FDA, halal certification should not be necessary, local media reports quoted him as saying.
According to an article on their website, HJS office-bearers also met the BJP’s Dhanbad MLA Raj Sinha last month and discussed the issue with him. It quotes the MLA as saying: “I will send a statement to the central government and demand an investigation. Also, I will try to create awareness about halal certification in society.”
The protest is the latest in a long, concerted effort by the Hindu Janjagriti Samiti to put the issue of the halal certificate or ‘Halal Jihad’ as it prefers to call it on Hindutva’s national outrage map.
Halal certification is a process of verifying that a product or service is in accordance with Islamic dietary laws. It certifies that food, drink, or other consumer goods have been produced, processed, and/or prepared in a manner that is permissible under Islamic law. The criteria for halal certification include, among others, that the food should not contain any pork or alcohol, and that it should be prepared according to certain slaughter and handling practices.
India does not have a mandatory halal certification system since it does not have a national regulation for the certification. However, certification is undertaken through private organisations like Halal India Pvt. Ltd and Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust for a fee. Since the international (and domestic) market for products marked ‘Halal’ has increased, many entrepreneurs see an opportunity to voluntarily seek halal certificates for their products.
But that has not stopped the far-right from raising the bogey of ‘halal’ giving rise to concerns that this is yet another pretext to demonize India’s minorities.
The anti-halal protest kicked off last October when the HJS led a protest outside KFC and Mcdonald’s in Bengaluru in the southern state of Kerala demanding that non-Muslims be served non-halal products. But the issue was raised vehemently by right-wing accounts on social media last March.
BJP’s Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh brought up the issue of halal at the HJS-led ‘Hindu Jan Akrosh Morcha’ in Mumbai on 29 January in a speech so hateful that the Supreme Court had to order a video graphing of the next HJS rally.