January 22, 2021 3:03:43 am
A day after passing a proposal to make it mandatory for restaurants and shops to display if the meat and poultry they serve is ‘halal’ or ‘jhatka’, Leader of House in South MCD, BJP’s Narendra Chawla, claimed along with raising awareness about what one consumes, the move will also increase employment opportunities among the Khatik community — some members of which slaughter animals using the jhatka method.
“Khatik community will get income benefits as they slaughter using the jhatka method, and if it is promoted, their sales will increase,” he said. Khatiks are Schedules Castes who live in Delhi and several parts of North India.
AAP’s MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak, meanwhile, said civic bodies should focus on paying salaries to employees than on such issues: “Whether meat is jhatka or halal is already mentioned in most places. BJP should instead have focused on cleaning the areas, which is a responsibility given to them, or controlling corruption in MCDs.”
A resolution passed by the South MCD house Wednesday stated, “According to Hinduism and Sikhism, eating ‘halal’ meat is forbidden and against religion. Therefore, the committee resolves that this direction be given to restaurants and meat shops that it should be written mandatorily about the meat being sold and served by them that ‘halal’ or ‘jhatka’ meat is available here.”
Chawla said the rule will increase transparency as people will now know what they are eating.
South MCD Mayor Anamika said this has been done “to give respect to every religion”. “In Hindu religion, it is said that animals should not be cut brutally… other religions have their own rules. People are free to eat whatever they want — this rule is just to ensure transparency,” she said.
In ‘jhatka’, an animal is slaughtered in one go, while in ‘halal’, it bleeds out after cutting a vein.
Restaurants owners and associations have flagged that the new rule could create unnecessary issues for an industry which is still trying to recover from the financial hit it received since March because of the pandemic.
Since October last year, the Delhi government has taken steps to help the industry recover, like allowing restaurants to open all day, doing away with heath trade licences and permissions from the tourism department to set up a new restaurant.
“Delhi’s restaurants are the pride of Delhi and provide employment to lakhs of people. I have directed all respective departments to remove unnecessary hassles in the smooth running of restaurants,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said after a meeting with restaurant representatives and government officials.
The Indian Express reached out to AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj, leaders Atishi, Raghav Chadha, ministers Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain, Kailash Gahlot and Rajendra Pal Gautam over the issue, but did not receive a response.
Officials in the South MCD conceded that it would be difficult to implement the policy as there’s no method by which it could be identified if cooked meat is halal or jhatka.
While the corporation has jurisdiction over inspection of raw meat, it is the Delhi government health department that monitors quality control in restaurants.
A similar proposal was passed by the East MCD in 2018 for shop owners. However, there has been no enforcement, action or challans till now. Medical health officer of East MCD Dr Som Shekhar said. “We are presently sensitising traders that they should display what meat they serve, but there has been no action.”
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