A authorities physique on Monday eliminated the phrase “halal” from a pink meat handbook that it points to put down the contours of meat export — a transfer that got here within the backdrop of allegations by some Hindu teams that using the time period provides an unfair enterprise benefit to Muslim exporters.
“Halal” is a time period used for consumables permitted beneath Islam. Meat that’s slaughtered in a sure manner can also be labelled as “halal-certified”. A number of Islamic international locations import solely “halal-certified” meat.
A piece of the older handbook by the Agricultural and Processed Meals Merchandise Export Growth Authority (APEDA) — it capabilities beneath the commerce ministry — learn: “…The animals are slaughtered strictly in response to ‘Halal’ technique to fulfill the requirement of Islamic international locations”. Within the revised model, that part reads: “The animals are slaughtered to the requirement of importing nation/importer.”
Exporters identified that certification of meat was carried out in view of the necessities of the exporting nation, as talked about within the revised handbook as properly, and that the elimination of the time period “halal” had little or no implications on the bottom, however admitted that it carried symbolic significance.
A debate has been raging with a piece of Hindu teams complaining that use of the phrase within the handbook implied that APEDA was making it obligatory for exporters to purchase and purchase solely “halal-certified” meat . They argue that aside from Islamic international locations in West Asia, India additionally exports meat to international locations corresponding to China and Sri Lanka, the place “halal” certification is just not wanted. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) is amongst these vocal on the problem.
The handbook is a compendium of data on points corresponding to high quality and meals security requirements to be adopted, freezing, packaging and labelling necessities, edible offal and different by-products of meat. It additionally incorporates elaborate data on varied authorities rules for export of meat.
One other reference within the earlier handbook to animals slaughtered by “halal” technique within the presence of representatives of recognised Islamic our bodies for certification to fulfill the requirement of Muslim international locations has additionally been changed with: “The animals are slaughtered to the requirement of importing nation/importer.”
APEDA officers didn’t reply to calls until the submitting of this report. However on December 27, it clarified in a tweet that, as claimed by some Hindu teams, the federal government didn’t impose any situation that solely “halal” meat was to be exported. “…It [halal meat] is requirement of majority of importing international locations/Importers. Halal Certification businesses are accredited instantly by respective importing international locations. No Govt company has any position on this,” it mentioned.
A gaggle known as Halal Niyantran Manch (Halal Regulation Discussion board) took credit score after the APEDA transfer. It had been petitioning the federal government to get rid of the phrase from the handbook.
“The Congress authorities had compelled APEDA to return out with an order that each one producers or exporters of meat must compulsorily register with APEDA, and purchase and purchase solely halal-certified meat,” HNM spokesperson Harinder S Sikka mentioned.
“Because of this, Hindus, Sikhs, SC and STs (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) all went out of enterprise, which is roughly 40 million-plus individuals. The federal government‘s reasoning then was that meat is primarily exported to the Center East, the place the requirement is halal meat. Nevertheless, this isn’t the reality. The largest marketplace for Indian meat is China, which not doesn’t require or give a halal certification. There are a lot of international locations corresponding to Sri Lanka which have banned halal certification,” he added.
BJP nationwide spokesperson RP Singh welcomed APEDA’s transfer.
A meat exporter in Delhi, who spoke on the situation of anonymity, nonetheless, pressured that the federal government had no position within the certification of meat for exports. “Certification is finished as per the necessities of the importing nation. The elimination of the time period from the handbook is of no significance on the bottom,” he mentioned.