SGPC demands clarity on meat served in eateries Ninety Percent Of The Non-vegetarian Food Served In Hotels, By Railways Is ‘Halal’ CHANDIGARH: If you are ‘religiously’ sensitive and sentimental about what you eat, then the SGPC, the apex body of Sikhs has come to your rescue this time. In a resolution passed during the meeting of its executive at Anandpur Sahib on Friday, the SGPC has asked the Union government to make it mandatory for eateries serving meat, besides the Indian Railways, to inform consumers whether they are being served ‘jhatka’ or ‘halal’ meat. The great debate about ‘jhatka or halal’ which rocked the prestigious Doon School early this year, has spilled out on to the upmarket eateries and MNC food chains dotting swank malls apart from the neighborhood free home-delivery food joints, in the wake of the fact that almost all meat procured from Delhi abattoirs is ‘halal’ and hardly any ‘jhatka’. The fact is admitted by no one else but the people in food business but they are not willing to inform the public, just because they are not bound to, or this is what they claim! However, a year after the apex body of the Sikhs, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) first raised its objection to what they called ‘‘deliberate withholding of information’’ about the origin of meat, it has once again repeated its warning to the food joints. The Committee has also asked the Union government to ‘‘use its influence and make it mandatory for places serving meat to display whether the meat is ‘jhatka’ or ‘halal’. SGPC president, Avtar Singh Makkar, would not like to comment as to what action would the community leaders take in case the government or the people in food business decide to ignore the request once again. ‘‘Hindus as well as Sikhs are not supposed to eat ‘halal’. When meat served abroad can carry necessary directions, why can’t it be done in India, where religion is such a sensitive issue,’’ he stated before adding that the SGPC can take ‘‘a very tough stand’’ in case the request was not adhered to. ‘‘They are playing with our religious sentiments. Eating ‘halal’ is one of the four gross transgressions specified in the Sikh code, the indulgence in which exposes a Sikh to self inflicted and immediate ostracism. He has to be rebapstised in case he commits any of these four ‘kuraihats’ (taboos),’’ said G S Lamba, a noted authority on Sikh affairs. Despite leaving several messages containing the query about serving of ‘halal’ meat in trains, officials at Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) failed to respond to queries. The group general manager of northern zone, IRCTC, Vishnu Kumar, was reached twice at his office and his aide was informed about the query, but Kumar was stated to be busy in ‘‘giving instructions to junior officers’’ each time his response was sought. Rajinder Kumar, the Delhi based president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India wondered at the question put to him: ‘‘This is the first time that someone has raised this issue.’’ Kumar admitted that railways and eateries procuring their meat from Delhi were getting ‘‘100% ‘halal’ meat, mainly because there were no Hindus or Sikhs running these abattoirs and the business is mainly in Muslim hands.’’ ‘‘We honour the sentiments of the communities who do not ear ‘halal’, but there is no choice for us. I have told the association members that there is no need to hide the fact from our customers, if they ask about the origin of the meat, but it is not possible for us to display the fact,’’ he said when asked why the menus were not stating the fact. ‘‘If there is a complaint, we are willing to hold an inquiry. Give us a choice and we would be too happy to serve ‘jhatka’ meat to our customers,’’ he said.