Amid the row over hijab, halal meat issue and loudspeaker row going on in the state of Karnataka, a new issue of banning Muslim taxi services emerged on Friday. The Bharata Rakshana Vedike, a right-wing Hindu organization, called on April 8 for a campaign asking all Hindus to avoid the services of Muslim taxi drivers across the state when visiting Hindu religious places.
According to reports, members of the organization went door to door to Hindu families explaining the reason why they were not employing Muslim taxi drivers. The organization said Hindus should not use Muslim taxis, especially when visiting Hindu temples or on pilgrimages.
Speaking on the issue, Bharat Shetty, the head of Bharata Rakshana Vedike said that Hindus do not eat vegetables and it would be a disrespect to our religion if we took someone to a temple who does not believe not in God, has food choices.
“When we go to temples or shrines, we don’t eat non-vegetarians and taking someone who doesn’t believe in our gods or makes us impure with their food choices would be a disrespect to our culture and our religion. They call us kafirs (unbelievers) and just as their religion is important to them, ours is to us,” Shetty said.
The chaos of Muslim people wearing hijab in educational institutions-
The state of Karnataka has seen huge controversies with some also leading nationally in recent times. Karnataka’s hijab row was chaotic as Muslim girls remained adamant about wearing hijab in schools and colleges even after the High Court ruling. Some Muslim female students at the Junior College of Karnataka have petitioned the High Court to be allowed to attend classes while wearing the hijab. They were denied admission to classes because the hijab is not part of the college uniform according to the college administration. Students demonstrated and took to the streets wearing burkas.
On March 15, the Karnataka High Court rejected the plea filed by Muslim girls seeking permission to wear the hijab in educational institutions. The court said the hijab is not an essential practice of the Islamic faith. The female students went on to confess that they met Campus Front of India (CFI), the student wing of the Islamist organization Popular Front of India (PFI) in October 2021, and started wearing the hijab in December 2021.
Prohibition of Halal-products
Another controversy that erupted in the meantime was the ban on Halal products. On March 28, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti called for a boycott of halal meat by launching a nationwide campaign demanding a ban on halal products. Spokesman Mohan Gowda said in the statement that millions of rupees were being collected to certify the meat as halal and this would pave the way for India to become an Islamic state. Gowda also said Halal certification goes against tenets of secularism and gross injustice to traditional butchers and meat traders.
The case reached the High Court after barrister Rehmatullah Kotwal filed the motion seeking directions not to impose any restrictions on Muslim meat traders. He also asked for court instructions to stop politicians from immediately making “provocative” statements. The High Court, however, declined to hear the case urgently, saying it would hear the case as per the list.
The issue of Azaan offerings on the loudspeakers-
Lately, the issue of Azaan deals on speakers is getting a lot of attention. On April 6, the state of Karnataka issued advisories to religious institutions across the state, ordering them to keep loudspeaker noise within the prescribed limit. The notices were sent by Bengaluru Police to 301 mosques, temples, churches and other establishments.
This is after right-wing organizations in Karnataka complained about the noise pollution created by the loudspeakers. Furthermore, BJP leader and Panchayat Raj minister KS Eshwarappa had noted that prayers over loudspeakers in mosques disturbed the elderly, students and patients.
Several Hindu organizations in Karnataka said they would play bhajans every morning if the Azaan on the loudspeakers was not stopped. State Home Minister Araga Gyanendra meanwhile warned of harsh measures against 125 mosques, 83 temples, 22 churches, 12 industries and 59 pubs and bars if loudspeaker noise is not heard. is not reduced to the allowed limit.