The Uttar Pradesh government on November 18 issued an order banning the sale of halal-certified products with immediate effect. The decision was taken after a meeting between Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and senior officials. This decision was taken a few hours after an official spokesperson voiced that the halal tag was being exploited to spread “propaganda” and manipulate “religious sentiment”.
According to a PTI report, the police station in Hazratganj, Lucknow has initiated a case against a company and several other entities accused of manipulating the religious feelings of consumers to boost sales.
The organisations allegedly provided falsified “halal” certificates, taking advantage of people’s faith to lure them into buying their products. This case unravelled on Friday, stemming from a complaint lodged by Motijheel Colony, Aishbagh resident Shailendra Kumar Sharma.
The accused are now facing charges under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 298 (uttering words, etc, with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings), 384 (extortion), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the IPC.
The UP government said in a statement on Saturday that the case was filed against entities such as Halal India Private Limited Chennai, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust Delhi, Halal Council of India Mumbai, Jamiat Ulama Maharashtra, and others for allegedly exploiting religious sentiments to boost sales by providing halal certificates to customers of a specific religion.
As per the FIR details, these seemed to be financially motivated actions, further infringing on societal harmony. Contrarily, the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind Halal Trust categorically denied all allegations, labelling them as unfounded. It also announced its decision to take appropriate legal actions to counter the spread of such disinformation.
“We adhere to government regulations, as emphasised in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry notification, requiring all halal certification bodies to be registered by NABCB (National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies under Quality Council of India), a milestone that Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind Halal Trust has achieved,” it said.
“It is also a matter of choice of individuals and manufacturers preferring to certain certifications for their own satisfaction based upon the credentials which the certifying authorities enjoy. It saves a large number of consumers from using products which they do not want for a variety of reasons and ensures availability of need-based products in the market. Those who do not want to use such products are free not to use them,” it further said.
The UP government’s statement also highlighted concerns about a potential large-scale conspiracy centred around halal certificates, affecting the sale of products from companies without this certification.
This alleged illegal activity points to attempts to decrease the market share of companies lacking the halal label. The government fears that this could give an unfair advantage to anti-social and anti-national elements.
The complainant has raised suspicions over the issuance of halal certificates for vegetarian products like oil, soaps, toothpaste and honey- a practice deemed unnecessary and intentionally targeted. Accusations also float around an “unrestrained propaganda” discouraging the use of non-halal certified products, thus affecting the business interests of other communities.
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