After the ‘hijab’ and ‘halal’ row and the ban on Muslim traders from participating in some temple fairs in Karnataka, it is the ‘season’ for ‘mango fatwa.’
Right-wing Hindu groups have asked Hindus to boycott Muslim mango farmers and sellers because they “monopolise” the trade and deny Hindus space in the business.
Mango retail business is dominated by Muslim traders even as the season has started peaking across the state, especially in Bengaluru.
However, the BJP has distanced itself from the call to boycott Muslim mango traders saying neither the party nor the government is involved in the campaign.
Horticulture Minister K Gopalaiah said: “It is up to the individual to buy fruits from whomever or wherever s/he wants. The government has no role to play in it.”
He, however, added that it is “the opinion” of some people that Muslims are monopolising the business. “Farmers hand over mangoes to those who offer a good price,” Gopalaiah said. “People of all communities grow mangoes and sellers are also from all communities. Let us leave this at this stage. We have other work [to do]. ”
The Congress has flayed the move. KPCC chief DK Shivakumar said the ban on Muslim vendors will impact farmers as most mango traders and vendors are Muslims. “Farmers will sell to those who offer the best price and it is Muslims who offer the best price,” he said and accused the BJP of targeting Muslims for political gain.
“This will harm farmers more than anyone else. Even a ban on ‘halal’ meat will hurt farmers,” he said.
JD(S) leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy said, “It is antinational on the part of groups to ask people not to buy mangoes from Muslim vendors. For hundreds of years, we have all eaten fruits and other food they (the Muslims) have sold. Why do such issues come up only around elections? Is this the only way to get votes?”
Opposition leader and former CM Siddaramaiah said with the assembly elections round the corner, the BJP is “manipulating the society with communal issues for political gain.”
Meanwhile, Asaduddin Owaisi, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief, in a tweet said: “Karnataka govt has facilitated brazen mob rule. Mobs are deciding who can sell what, and who can buy from whom. There is no “Muslim monopoly”, it’s just another excuse to enforce untouchability against Muslims,” Owaisi, an MP from Hyderabad, said.
The call to boycott Muslim mango traders came from Chandru Moger, coordinator, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, in Karnataka. In a post on Twitter, he urged Hindus to buy fruits only from Hindu vendors and boycott Muslim traders.