Giriraj Singh Sparks Controversy with Call to Ban Halal Products, Drawing Parallels to ‘Jihad’

Giriraj Singh Sparks Controversy with Call to Ban Halal Products, Drawing Parallels to ‘Jihad’

Union minister calls for ban on Halal certificates in Bihar, raises concerns about alleged link between Halal certification and discriminatory activities.

Union minister Giriraj Singh has called for an immediate ban on Halal certificates on food products in Bihar by following the lead of Uttar Pradesh. In a letter addressed to Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, the union minister for rural development raised concerns about the alleged link between Halal certification and potential involvement in socially discriminatory and terrorist activities.

The minister asserted that such certification, which has no connection to Islamic standards, is an attempt to Islamize products unrelated to the religion. He accused institutions of becoming self-proclaimed authorities in issuing Halal certificates, allegedly receiving substantial payments from companies manufacturing the goods.

“The fear that there is a big conspiracy behind Halal certification and business is not unfounded,” he wrote in Hindi.

Citing the recent actions against Halal certification by the Uttar Pradesh government, Singh urged the Bihar CM to take similar strong measures in the state.

“I request you to take strict action against such divisive and conspiratorial elements by imposing a ban against the kind of jihad going on in the name of Halal products even in a big state like Bihar,” the minister said.

Uttar Pradesh recently imposed a ban on the distribution and sale of certain Halal-certified products, including dairy, garments and medicines, with immediate effect, while exempting products manufactured for export.

Bakery products, sugar, edible oil and other products which were labelled as ‘Halal-certified’ by the companies manufacturing them would be banned from distribution and sale, a state government notification said on Saturday.

“Halal certification of food products is a parallel system which creates confusion regarding the quality of food items,” the notification said.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the country’s apex body in charge of determining standards for most food products sold in the country and determines the standards food products should meet, the notification said.

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday backed the move saying food certification should be done only by governmental agencies, and not by non-governmental organisations.

“Food quality and food testing are essentially a government job. Government should do it. We have our Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI),” she said.

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