After a social media drive by Hindus and Sikhs against the 'Halal' certification for products in the country, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has removed the word from its 'Red Meat Manual', reports Indian Express.
The APEDA, which comes under the Ministry of Commerce, handles agri-exports from the country.
While the earlier Red Meat Manual of APEDA prescribed animals to be "slaughtered strictly according to halal method to meet the requirement of Islamic countries”, it is now amended to “the animals are slaughtered according to the requirement of importing country/importer”.
This change was reportedly made as the use of the word halal gave an impression that this was mandatory for all meat exports from the country.
“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,” the exports promotion body clarified.
The body also deleted these lines: “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.”
It should be noted that Hindu and Sikh organisations had opposed the use of the word 'Halal' in the old APEDA manual and alleged that the government seemed to be promoting halal meat.
The campaigners against halal certification said that this religious prescription in the manual led to job loss for non-muslims as they were kept out by slaughterhouses due to halal requirements. They have called these changes as just one step in the right direction and asserted that they would continue their campaign against halal certification.
Islamic countries allow the import of only halal-certified meat, and India exports buffalo meat to many of them including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Malaysia.
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