NEW DELHI: The organisations, which have been campaigning against “halal” certification of meat, have welcomed the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) decision to remove the term from the specifications for export of red meat, but said this is only a first step towards the goal to ensure that meat of animals and poultry who are slaughtered in accordance with Islamic religious guidelines is not served to those who are unwilling to consume it.
APEDA on Monday had announced the decision to drop “halal” from its Red Meat Manual following escalating protests from Hindutva groups and some Sikh bodies.
The manual of APEDA, a body under the ministry of commerce, which handles agri-exports, emphasised that “animals are slaughtered strictly according to halal method to meet the requirements of Islamic countries”. It also further mentioned the meat being exported was of animals slaughtered “by the halal system under the strict vigilance of a recognised and registered Islamic body and as per the tenets of Islamic Shariyat”.
Hindutva bodies said the manual represented the larger trend where consumers of all faiths were being served meat obtained through an Islamic religious practice. Certain Sikh groups said consumption of halal meat violated their religious practice.
After the change, the manual says “the animals are slaughtered according to the requirement of the importing country/ importer”.
“Not only the meat produced in country for import but meat served everywhere in India be it hotels, restaurants, trains, flights are halal meat, which is considered haram for many communities here as well as other countries,” said Harinder Sikka from Halal Niyantran Manch (Halal Regulation Forum), which had on several occasions petitioned the government to remove the term.
Harinder Sikka also says the requirement to secure halal-compliant attestations from Islamic bodies translated into a tax from bodies of clerics like Jamat-i-Ulema who charged thousands for issuing the certification. VHP has also argued that the requirement for certification had rendered non-Muslims jobless and turned the meat and poultry business into a monopoly of a particular religious community.