The Bharata Rakshana Vedike, a Hindutva group in Karnataka, on Friday asked Hindus not to employ cab services and transport operators run by Muslims, reported the Hindustan Times.

Members of the Bharata Rakshana Vedike visited homes of several people to convince them to not avail of cab services offered by Muslim drivers.

This comes as BJP leaders and Hindutva fringe groups in the state have called for the boycott of Muslim vendors, Halal meat, wearing of Hijab in education institutions, and banning the use of loudspeakers during Azaan prayers in the state.

“When we go to temples or shrines, we do not eat non-veg and taking someone who does not believe in our gods or make us impure with their food choices would be a disrespect to our culture and religion,” said Bharat Shetty, the chief of the group. “They call us kafirs [non-believers] and just as their religion is important to them, ours is to us.”

Another member of the Hindutva group, Prashanth Bangera, on Friday appealed to Hindus to not take Muslim drivers while going to temples and pilgrimages, reported IANS.

Bangera also urged Hindus to not use any Muslim-owned transport companies in the state. He called on other Hindutva organisations to support his appeal. Sri Ram Sena has decided to support Bangera’s demands, according to IANS.

Karnataka’s Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj KS Eshwarappa blamed Congress for creating a divide between Hindus and Muslims, the Hindustan Times reported. “All this hijab, halal and other controversies are the doing of the Congress who would benefit only if these two communities are separated,” he said.

Campaigns against Muslims in Karnataka

For months now, Hindutva groups in Karnataka have launched several campaigns against Muslims.

In January, the groups had objected to students wearing hijab in some colleges. Some Hindu students had started a coordinated campaign to wear saffron scarves to class in order to force colleges to ban the hijab.

The Karnataka government had on February 5 banned clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order” in educational institutions. On March 15, the Karnataka High Court upheld the government order and ruled that wearing hijab was not essential to Islam.

In March, several temples in Karnataka had also banned Muslim traders from opening stalls at annual fairs.

Muslims have reportedly been running stalls at these fairs for many years. However, Hindutva organisations had objected to their participation after many Muslims closed their shops to protest the Karnataka High Court verdict upholding the state’s ban on wearing hijab at schools and colleges.

Hindutva groups are also demanding a ban on the use of loudspeakers in mosques, saying they lead to noise pollution. A Hindutva group, the Shri Ram Sene, had threatened to protest if the government fails to act in the matter.

Earlier this week, the Bengaluru Police had said they have started seizing microphones from places of worship where noise levels have crossed the threshold set by the Supreme Court.

On April 8, Bengaluru’s civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, issued a circular banning the sale of meat across the city on Ram Navami, which is on Sunday.

On Friday, some Hindutva organisations also began a campaign against state-owned Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, Air India and others for offering halal-certified products.

Halal is the Arabic word for “permissible”. Halal-certified products make it permissible for Muslims to consume the items. One of such products, the halal meat, which is sanctified by Islamic law, involves killing an animal by cutting the jugular vein, carotid artery and windpipe.