The decision of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) to remove the word ‘halal’ from its ‘Red Meat Manual’ has beefed up the morale of various Hindu and Sikh bodies campaigning against halal certification.
These organisations had alleged that Muslim exporters were getting an unfair business advantage due to the certification.
Halal is meat and poultry killed in accordance with Quranic guidelines derived from the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. Meat slaughtered in this particular way is labelled as “halal-certified” as several Islamic countries only import that. India exports buffalo meat to many of these countries.
However, the APEDA had clarified that there was no condition on the part of the Government of India regarding halal meat. “It is a requirement by a majority of the importing countries/importers. Halal certification agencies are accredited directly by respective importing countries. No government agency has any role in this,” it said.
While the earlier Red Meat Manual of the APEDA, which handles agri-exports under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said “animals are slaughtered strictly according to halal method to meet the requirement of Islamic countries”, it now says “the animals are slaughtered according to the requirement of importing country/importer”.
In the new manual, the following line is deleted. “The animals are slaughtered by halal system under strict vigilance of (a) recognised and registered Islamic body as per the tenets of Islamic Shariyat. The certificate for halal is issued by the representative of registered Islamic body under whose supervision the slaughter is conducted in order to meet the requirement of (the) importing country.”
Jhatka Certification Authority, started by Ravi Ranjan Singh, tweeted:
“Thanking govt for recognizing the ongoing demand for justice & tireless efforts! All HALAL references has been now removed from APEDA which was otherwise a mandate earlier. Again- Its a long fight ! Continue to #BoycottHalal because this is just the start!
“We won’t stop! We will reach every nook & corner of this world as every innocent being on this planet deserves to know what they are getting into unknowingly! Halal ensures no Kafir is involved in any of its process ensuring economic boycott of kafirs.”
Earlier, the Jhatka movement, had campaigned in a big way against halal meat.
“Halal is an ECONOMIC BLACKHOLE and is pushing your kids into eternal slavery without you knowing anything about it,” it had tweeted.
Sources said the change was made as the use of word halal in the old manual gave the impression that this was mandatory for all meat exports.
Islamic countries allow the import of only halal-certified meat, and India exports buffalo meat to many of these. In 2019-20, India exported Rs 22,668.48 crore worth of buffalo meat, with the chief buyers being Vietnam (Rs 7,569.01 crore), Malaysia (Rs 2,682.78 crore), Egypt (Rs 2,364.89 crore), Indonesia (Rs 1,651.97 crore), Saudi Arabia (Rs 873.56 crore), Hong Kong (Rs 857.26 crore), Myanmar (Rs 669.20 cr) and the UAE (Rs 604.47 cr). Most of the exports to Vietnam and Hong Kong get diverted to China.
Other right-wing groups, which had cited the APEDA manual to say the government seemed to be promoting halal meat, called the change “the first step in the right direction”. Sikh organisations have also approached Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri to stop serving halal meat on Air India flights.
Calling the business “halalanomics”, the VHP’s Vinod Bansal said, “Halalanomics should be stopped in the country. It has captured the entire economy… Halal certification should be removed from everything,” he said, adding, “If there is halal certification, there should be a jhatka certificate.”