LUCKNOW, India: In Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state governed by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a recent ban has been imposed on the production, storage, distribution, and sale of Halal-certified products, targeting minorities, particularly Muslims.
This ban encompasses various goods, including dairy, garments, and medicines, deeming them illegal according to a government notification.
However, the ban’s scope reveals a notable exception: products intended for export remain unaffected, showcasing a clear discrepancy in the application of these regulations.
The state government’s notification specifically targets bakery products, sugar, edible oil, and other items labelled as ‘Halal-certified’ by manufacturers. It claims that the Halal certification system creates confusion regarding food quality, as per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), responsible for setting food standards in the country.
The state’s chief, Yogi Adityanath, a fervent Hindu monk from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP, has faced accusations of fostering division against the sizable Muslim population, accusations vehemently denied by both him and his government.
State BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi defended the ban, stating the religion should not dictate food choices. Items like garments and sugar were being labelled as Halal, which violates the law.
The government cited complaints alleging an attempt to reduce the sales of non-Halal-certified goods, a claim disputed by Muslim groups as “baseless,” vowing legal action against such allegations.