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McDonald's faces boycott in India for serving halal meat

McDonald's faced boycott calls in India after saying it serves halal meat (GETTY)

Date of publication: 28 August, 2019

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Right-wing groups call for a boycott of McDonalds for catering to the food requirements of a minority community
McDonald's is facing calls for a boycott from right-wing Hindu nationalists in India after the fast food giant said it uses halal meat in outlets across the country.

The controversy exploded when McDonald's tweeted that its restaurants were halal certified in response to a user's question about their meat.

"All our restaurants have halal certificates. You can ask the respective restaurant managers to show you the certificate for your satisfaction and confirmation," the fast food chain said.

This led several Hindus and right-wing nationalists have subsequently called for the chain to be boycotted, claiming that the company is catering specifically to the needs of a minority. 

One user wrote that "this is a blatant and intentional assault on Hindu beliefs".

Others labelled McDonald's as insensitive for not using the 'jhatka' method, a form of slaughter that kills the animal in a single blow. 

This comes on the back of a controversy where a Hindu businessman in the state of Madhya Pradesh cancelled his order because a non-Hindu delivery man was assigned to deliver his food. 

Some activists say that this is yet another occurrence of communalism that shows the increasingly poisonous atmosphere of hatred and intolerance in India.

"It is an absolutely Islamophobic atmosphere which is existing in India now and each and every occasion is used by right-wing Hindus to attack Muslims," Shabnam Hashmi, a Delhi-based activist told Al Jazeera.

"This everyday pitting of one community against another, in matters that were private earlier, or didn't concern a larger public, is a slow and steady way to try to instil hatred in the very fabric of the society and keep a community always on the edge, so that they feel less and less safe," Sushmita, a researcher from Delhi told Al Jazeera.

The tense environment has led to an increasing amount of violence between the Hindu community and other minorities over the last few years.

Forty-four people have been killed
 by Hindu vigilante groups for transporting or slaughtering cows in recent years, most of whom were from minority or lower caste Hindu communities. Cows are a sacred animal for Hindus,

Critics of current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi say that his Hindu Nationalist Party has emboldened these groups since they swept to power in 2014.

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