BJP Karnataka Legislative Council member N Ravikumar Monday proposed to introduce a private bill in the House banning food certification by any institution other than the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Political observers said the proposal has been made with an eye on Islamic institutions that certify halal food for Muslims.
Notably, the halal issue made national headlines earlier this year after a few pro-Hindu organisations in Karnataka called for a boycott of halal meat during Ugadi celebrations. This was part of a campaign by some right-wing organisations to avoid business with Muslims.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, N Ravikumar said: “The FSSAI has the authority to check safety and standards of food products. But a parallel unauthorised system is also certifying food products to control the market. We are planning to introduce a section under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, banning halal certification by unauthorised agencies.”
Ravikumar had recently written a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, claiming that the proposed amendment would bring in an additional revenue of Rs 5,000 crore for the state exchequer.
Subscriber Only Stories
Congress leaders have criticised the move of the BJP legislator. After attending the legislative session Monday, UT Khader, Congress deputy leader in the state assembly, said: “In order to divert public attention from the government’s failure and corruption, they have resorted to such acts.”
BK Hariprasad, leader of the opposition in the Legislative Council, told media persons that they would urge the council chairman to not admit such a private bill on halal.
A source in the BJP government said the proposal is likely to be accepted by the cabinet and will be tabled before the House.