The ruling party in India, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is actively pushing its agenda, with a recent move in Uttar Pradesh raising eyebrows. The authorities in the country’s most populous state have prohibited the production, storage, distribution, and sale of Halal-certified products, which include items like dairy, garments, and medicines, citing illegality.
It’s worth noting that the ban has a catch— it’s limited to the domestic market, leaving products meant for export unaffected. So, while there’s a clear stance domestically, it doesn’t apply internationally.
According to a notification from the state government, bakery products, sugar, edible oil, and other items labeled as ‘Halal-certified’ by the manufacturing companies will face the ban. The reasoning behind this move, as stated in the notification, is to address confusion about the quality of food items created by the parallel system of Halal certification.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the apex body responsible for setting standards for most food products in the country, supports this decision, according to the notification.
Uttar Pradesh, led by the outspoken Hindu monk Yogi Adityanath, a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist BJP, is not just the largest state in India but also the most populous. Despite allegations from critics that Adityanath and his government harbor a divisive agenda against the state’s significant Muslim population, they consistently deny such claims.
In response to the controversy, a state BJP spokesperson, Rakesh Tripathi, emphasized the stance: “Religion should not be brought into food. There were many items such as garments, sugar, etc., which were being branded as Halal, which is against the law,” as told to Reuters.
The Uttar Pradesh government justifies the move by pointing to complaints alleging a potential effort to diminish the sale of non-Halal certified goods. However, Muslim bodies have dismissed these claims as “baseless” and vowed to take “necessary legal measures” against them.