Four arrested in ‘halal’ info removal case

The Chengamanad police arrested four persons in connection with an incident in which a bakery at Kurumassery was forced to take down a notification publicising ‘halal’ food in the wake of a notice issued by a local unit of the Hindu Aikya Vedi.

The arrested are Sujay, 39, Arun Aravind, 30, and Dhanesh Prabhakaran, 38, all residents of Parakkadavu, and Lenin, 35, of Kurumassery. They are office-bearers of the Hindu Aikya Vedi. They were later released on bail.

The incident came to light after the notice issued by the Parakkadavu unit of the Hindu Aikya Vedi and signed by its president Arun and secretary Dhanesh went viral. Mody bakery, which was opened just a month ago, promptly took down the sticker informing the availability of halal food on receiving the notice.

“The notice was issued on December 28, but the shop owner chose not to report it. We traced the owner on being informed about the incident through social media and recorded his statement based on which a case was registered,” said T.K. Josey, Station House Officer, Chengamanad.

The police invoked IPC Sections 153 (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 506 (1) (criminal intimidation), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

The notice sought the removal of the sticker notifying halal within seven days of receipt of the notice and avoiding the use of discriminatory descriptions from future advertisements of the shop, failing which the Hindu Aikya Vedi warned of boycotting the shop and launching protests. It was issued on the pretext that the area did not have enough members of the community that preferred halal food.

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

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