Restaurant owners in Delhi have said that they will urge the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to withdraw its order making it mandatory for them to prominently display whether the meat they are serving is halal or jhatka, The Indian Express reported on Friday.
Halal food is meat and poultry killed in accordance with Quranic guidelines derived from the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, while jhatka is the meat from an animal slaughtered in one go.
Priyank Sukhija, founder of food and beverage company First Fiddle F&B, told the newspaper that the order will create hurdles for businesses trying to recover from the damage caused by the coronavirus crisis. The company owns several restaurants in Delhi.
“We are just trying to look up after the pandemic and lockdown-related setbacks,” he said. “Only last week, we were arguing with the SDMC over the poultry ban issue, which they eventually took back. And now, this [the halal meat order] crops up.” Sukhija added that most of the customers did not care what kind meat they were being served.
Sukhija said that while the Aam Aadmi Party government was trying to help restaurants with liberal policies, the Bharatiya Janata Party-controlled SDMC was imposing more stringent rules on them. “Through NRAI [National Restaurant Association of India], we are going to send a representation to the SDMC to take back this order before it comes into effect,” he added.
Amit Bagga, the owner of Daryaganj Restaurant in Aerocity, said the order would create logistical problems for business. “It will be very difficult for us to keep two kinds of stock or get easy supply of both types of meat,” he told The Indian Express. “People are free to ask this question from servers, and restaurants are obliged to answer.”
Bagga said that such orders should be uniform for the Delhi-National Capital Region and not zone-specific, adding that they created confusion for chains restaurants. “While this applies to our Aerocity outlet, it doesn’t apply to other outlets in Delhi,” he said.
The South Delhi civic body had in December cleared the proposal for restaurants under its jurisdiction to clearly state the kind of meat they were serving. It said that action would be taken against businesses who don’t follow the instruction. The proposal was passed by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation House on Wednesday.
The proposal stated that consuming halal food was “forbidden and against the religion” in Sikhism and Hinduism. “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,” the resolution said.
A similar proposal had been passed by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation in 2018. The civic body’s then Standing Committee Chairperson Satyapal had justified the proposal, claiming that there were several Hindus who did not eat halal meat.