Popularly hailed as Dr Jhatka and King of Jhatka evolution on Social Media, Ravi Ranjan Singh, the chairman of Jhatka Certification Authority, amidst the raging debate over halal and jhatka meats, explained in detail the conceptual difference between the two and the underlying deeper shenanigans associated with the sale of halal meat.
In an exclusive interview to OpIndia, Singh stated that halal is a broader Arabian concept which means “Permissible Legitimate” and meat is simply a minuscule part of it. The concept of halal extends to many more things. Singh said that the faith of Islam is based on the beliefs of halal and haram which is different from the ancient understanding of halal. He further added that the halal certified food is Islamic halal and it is in accordance with the Islamic beliefs, but it usually perceived as universal halal. “Islamic halal is permissible according to Islam but it may not be permissible to others who are not Muslims,” Singh said.
Singh argues that a restaurant or a food outlet should offer consumers with the option of having halal or jhatka meat and not just cravenly submit to the Muslim diktat of serving only halal meat, that may flout the beliefs of non-Muslims. Singh said that the Jhatka ritual demands an instant sacrifice of the animal, sparing it the torture of slow and painful death, a characteristic of halal way of killing animals.
Singh expounded that in the Jhatka ritual, the connection between the spinal cord and brain is instantly snapped, resulting in the instant death of the animal while in the halal ritual, the animal’s jugular vein is slit and it is left to bleed to death.
The chairman of Jhatka Certification Authority mentions that he or his organisation is not against the halal type of meat but against the imposition of halal on non-Muslims who do not particularly believe in the ideal cherished in Islam. Citing Indian parliament and Indian Railways who only serve halal meat, Singh said that a customer should have a choice of opting for halal meat or jhatka meat instead of only having the option of choosing halal meat.
A petition filed by Singh in 2009 in the parliament seeking inclusion of jhatka meat alongside halal meat in the Indian parliament and Indian Railways is still pending. “It is Indian parliament and Indian railways, not a Muslim parliament or Muslim railways. We are not sitting in Syria. If you want to serve meat, serve both types of meat or else stop serving meat altogether. You cannot force me or anybody to else to consume meat procured through Islamic procedures,” Singh asserted.
Update: Indian Railway and IRCTC have denied the claim that only halal meat is served on trains, read the detail response bellow.
When questioned about other dimensions that determine a product to be halal, Singh replied that there are multiple phases through which halal had gained prominence in the world. “Before Islam, Jews propounded halal in form of Kosher. The method of painfully slaughtering the animal is similar so I disapprove it. However, I don’t oppose it because no Jew is going to be killing for not having kosher,” Singh said.
“There are umpteen conditions to be adhered too for a product to be halal certified. One of them being animal has to be face Mecca while being slaughtered. I have no objection with this stipulation as i believe either it is sinful to consume meat or it is not, it is not going to be virtuous depending on the direction in which it faces,” Singh added.
However, one of the most objectionable conditions that accompanies halal, according to Singh, is “no employment or financial benefit granted to a Kafir (non-Muslim)”. Singh listed another contentious condition which said that a certain part of profit made by halal products goes towards financing jihads. “When I’m buying halal certified products, I’m directly funding my own death. Any halal certified product-chips, chocolate, meat, purchased by me is financing my death. Even vegeterian products are halal certified. It has no relation with the meat but a part of it goes into supporting jihad,” Singh said.
According to Singh, halal supporters claim that the amount earmarked for jihad is basically zakat that goes into religious charity. However, there is no mechanism to check how this religious charity is used by Islamic institutions, contends Singh. “This jihad is nothing but a fight against the non-believers until they embrace Islam. This is not halal, this is halalonomics aimed at converting non-Muslims into Muslims,” Singh affirmed.
In an explosive revelation, Singh asserted that the Municipal outsourced Jhatka slaughterhouse plant in Delhi’s Ghazipur area continues to provide halal meat as the outsourcing company is owned by a Muslim. “There are 3 plants for procuring raw meat in Delhi. 1 is halal plant, the other one is jhatka and the third one is for big animals like buffalo. However, cow meat can be easily mixed with buffalo meat. All the three are owned by Muslim outsourcing company and halal continues to be the mode of slaughter in all three of them. There should be a mechanism in place to check the operations of such plants,” Singh said.
Singh claims that his fight is not against halal products but against the forceful foisting of halal meat on the consumers. He asserted that many people who have joined in his campaign to make jhatka meat easily available for public consumption were the ones who had never had meat in their life but they understood the logicality of his arguments and thus stood behind him in his demand to have jhatka meat.
Singh admitted that the limitations attached to jhatka are more profound than halal as halal is now pervasive across the world with anyone living in Brazil or in Tamil Nadu would instantly realise what halal stands for. Besides meat, there are halal airways, halal medicines, halal hospitals etc. In contrast to this, Singh said that there certification of jhatka upholds the idea of torture-less death of animals throughout the value chain and no support or monetary donation to terror groups.
Update: Although Ravi Ranjan Singh claimed that Indian Railway serves only Halal meat, IRCTC, which supplies food on Indian Railway trains, has rejected this claim. When OpIndia reached out to Railways for their comments on the issue, an official in Railway Ministry said that IRCTC does not specify Halal or Jhatka for the meat they serve. They informed that IRCTC follows ISO and HACCP guidelines for selecting suppliers of poultry and meat. The ministry also informed that this issue was raised earlier also in 2010, when IRCTC had issued a detailed explanation.
OpIndia has accessed a copy of the statement issued by IRCTC, which states that IRCTC does not have any specific guidelines issued by the railway ministry regarding dietary preferences of various religious and social communities. It informs that IRCTC does not mention the type of meat like Halal and Jhatka for poultry or meat served to railway passengers, nor such specifications are mentioned in its tenders for procuring the same. The IRCTC statement says that it sources meat only from HACCP certified suppliers through tenders, and FS&SAI has also not specified any coding in regard to method of slaughter.