K'taka Hindu Outfit Says Real Target Halal Trust, Muslim Meat Vendors Collateral

Hindu Janajagruti Samiti says Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind Halal Trust should not have supported Muskan Khan.

3 min read
Hindi Female

In Karnataka, while Hindu right-wing groups have been demanding a boycott of halal meat and other products, the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has set a different target for itself. The Samiti, which was the first outfit to oppose halal meat in Karnataka, is in a head-on confrontation with Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind Halal Trust.

"We think that the Halal Trust is forcing Hindus to purchase products which are halal certified. We think the trust should be boycotted as they could fund terror outfits," Mohan Gowda, a leader of the Samiti, alleged.

Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind, one of the oldest Muslim non-profit religious organisations in India, however, has not been implicated in terror cases. Set up in 1919, the organisation functions as a religious arbiter and an authority on Islamic faith. Why then is the Samiti opposing the Trust?

In 2007, the organisation was vertically divided into two outfits, Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind Halal Trust and Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind Halal Foundation. Maulana Mahmood Madani leads the former and Maulana Arshad Madani leads the latter.

What has irked the Samiti is the support that Jamiat Ulema extended to Muslim women students of Karnataka who have been protesting for their right to wear hijab.


'Why Support Muskan Khan?'

In February 2022, while several Hindu students were demanding a ban on hijab in educational institutions across Karnataka, Muslim teenager Muskan Khan became the face of grit. A student of PES College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Mandya, Khan was seen standing up to a group of men shouting Jai Sri Ram. On 8 February, when heckled for wearing burqa, Khan responded, raising her hand and shouting, Allahu Akbar.

On 9 February, Mahmood Madani's Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for Muskan Khan.

The reward was meant to appreciate the courage she showed, the organisation said in a statement. The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, however, took exception to this gesture. Mohan Gowda said, "Why did they announce that reward? It was an open challenge. The outfit could even fund Muslim students who are fighting for hijab in violation of the Karnataka High Court order that has banned hijab in classrooms."

In crux, the Samiti has been of the opinion that Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind could help the Muslim community "fight Hindus."

On 15 March, Karnataka High Court upheld a ban on hijab in educational institutions. Several Muslim students have been missing classes and examination on account of the hijab ban.

Gowda further said, "We are not against Muslim vendors selling halal meat to those who want to have that. But why should halal be the only option for Hindus?" The Samiti's week-long protest against halal has been centred round the Hindu festival Ugadi that falls on 2 April. On Hosathodaku, the day after Ugadi, a section of Hindus consume meat.

Though the Samiti's target, according to its leaders, has been Jamiat Ulema, Muslim meat sellers are the worst hit.

This, even as there is no 'halal certification' for meat. Halal animal and bird slaughter, is however, a religious practice followed by Muslim butchers.

In Bengaluru, another Hindu right-wing outfit, Bajrang Dal, has been asking Hindus to boycott halal meat. In Shivamogga five Bajrang Dal workers were arrested for assaulting a Muslim meat vendor.

The Samiti, meanwhile, wants to continue its protest against halal certified products.


'Will Continue to Oppose Halal'

Hindu Janajagruti started its protest against halal meat in the third week of March. A week later, the outfit supported the call to boycott halal certified commercial brands including Himalaya Drug Company and Eastern Condiments. The companies which sell drugs, cosmetics and spices are also owned by entrepreneurs who are Muslim.

Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind had halal certified the products of both the companies. Ironically, the Samiti has not called into question the halal certification that the Halal Trust extended to Patanjali, owned by Baba Ram Dev, a yoga guru who has been vocal about his Hindu right wing outlook.

In fact, Mahmood Madani had drawn flak from the Muslim community for holding a meeting with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat.

"Even after Ugadi the protest against halal certified products will continue. Halal is a Muslim religious sanction," Gowda said. While the Samiti, which has a strong presence in Bengaluru, has been accusing the halal trust of forcing Hindus to buy halal meat, Bajrang Dal leaders said that Muslim meat sellers cannot be let off.

"In each shop which sells meat, both halal cut and non-halal cut should be made available," a Bajrang Dal leader KR Sunil said. The outfit has been opposing cattle slaughter too, based on Karnataka government's anti-cow slaughter bill.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has asked all communities to "maintain peace and show restraint" in the wake of rising communal tension in the state.

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