As the parliamentary election approaches, the BJP in Uttar Pradesh seems to be employing a polarising strategy that is reminiscent of its approach in the Assembly elections in 2017 and 2022. Critics say that several of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s policies were aimed at “othering and disciplining” the State’s 19 per cent Muslim population in a bid to consolidate Hindu votes while in both elections, Muslim votes were almost irrelevant to deciding the outcome.
On November 18, Anita Singh, Commissioner, Food Safety, and Additional Chief Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Food Safety and Drug Administration (FSDA) Department, issued a notification stating that labelling dairy products, bakery, oil, snacks, edible oil, medicines, medical devices, and cosmetics as “halal” was an offence against the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Banning the production, storage, distribution, and sale of halal-certified products, the notification says: “The halal certification of food products is a parallel system that creates confusion and is against the law. Halal labelling on medicines and cosmetic products amounts to misleading the consumer about the safety of food products.”
The action has fuelled worries among Muslims, with many wondering whether halal meat shops would be the next target.
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