Kerala bakery forced to remove ‘halal’ info

Local unit of Hindu Aikya Vedi has issued notice to the outlet citing ‘discrimination’

Updated - January 01, 2021 11:38 am IST

Published - December 31, 2020 10:40 pm IST - KOCHI

The notice issued to a bakery by the Parakkadavu unit of the Hindu Aikya Vedi.

The notice issued to a bakery by the Parakkadavu unit of the Hindu Aikya Vedi.

A bakery at Kurumasserry in Parakkadavu block panchayat, near Aluva, has been forced to remove under duress a notification about the availability of ‘halal’ food.

The bakery, named ‘Mody’, that had been opened just a month ago was forced to remove the sticker following a notice issued by the Parakkadavu unit of the Hindu Aikya Vedi on December 28. The notice, signed by unit president Arun Aravind and secretary Dhanesh Prabhakran, is widely circulating on social media.

The notice observed that the display of the sticker publicising ‘halal’ food amounted to discrimination of food based on religion. This, the notice read, was tantamount to untouchability and hence criminal.

‘Within seven days’

“The sticker notifying ‘halal’ should be removed within 7 days of the receipt of the notice and such discriminatory descriptions should henceforth be avoided from your future advertisements, failing which the Hindu Aikya Vedi will be forced to boycott the shop and launch protests,” the notice read.

The bakery removed the notification on receiving the notice.

It all started when Mr. Aravind and a few others dropped in at the shop for snacks earlier this week and insisted on non-halal food. They were told that only ‘halal’ food was available.

“The panchayat does not have enough members of the community to warrant publicising of ‘halal’ food. Those who need it will ask and there is no need for such a notification,” said Mr. Aravind, who justified the notice saying that there was no threat of violence.

Shop’s reasoning

A source at the shop said the availability of ‘halal’ food was one of their attractions. The bakery did not cater to local residents alone but passers-by as well, he said.

The shop largely sold bakery items and only served Al-fam and Shawarma, two chicken-based snacks, that fall under the category of ‘halal.’

Panchayat’s stance

The newly sworn-in Parakkadavu block panchayat president T. V. Pratheesh from the Left Democratic Front said the incident had not been brought to the notice of the panchayat.

He said an arbitrary demand for removal of ‘halal’ notification was unacceptable. ‘‘We will look into the matter and intervene, if needed,” he said.

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