In 2018, The Indian Army took a decision to close its butcheries across the nation, as it was decided to procure dressed frozen chicken that will be approved by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI). In the past, meat contractors used to supply the live chicken to Army units. Indian Army used to run its own slaughterhouses, but those were not certified by the FSSAI.
Meat is an important constituent of the Indian Army’s consumption. As per the estimates, average personnel should get 170-180 gram chicken per day, which will is supplied only from FSSAI-approved centers, ISO 22000-certified plants, and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points only. The Indian Army usually orders thousands of Tonnes of chicken from these institutions annually.
The new rule came into effect on April 1, 2018. New processing plants have been allotted tenders of Army stations by commands on the basis of lowest bids. The frozen chicken was being supplied to 26 Army stations over the past three years under a pilot project.
However, in recent months, several Army Officers have started to share a grave concern that the Army is getting the Halala Certified meat in the name of FSSI certified chicken.
A message has been circulated in several Armed Forces groups, which states that they need to fight with the Army authorities, as Meat/ Chicken for the Hindu, Sikh, and Christian troops are being procured from Slaughterhouses, which are Halal certified. Earlier the slaughter of animals used to take place in the Army’s own butcheries under the supervision of their own veterinary doctors. This mechanism assured that everyone used to get an adequate amount of meat, and this wasn’t impacting an individual’s religious beliefs as well.
However, since the new system has been introduced, this process has been changed drastically. As per few defense officers, the meat procured for troops stationed in Chandigarh and in Ladakh is usually comes from the slaughterhouses around Chandigarh, and unfortunately, all of them are Halal certified. Halal meat is preferred by Muslims, however, it is not consumed by people from other faiths.
A veteran officer has filed an RTI to find more details on this matter so that he can take this up with the concerned authorities of the Indian Army, but they received no response on that yet. Veterans have requested the Governors and Chief Ministers of Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh that it should be made mandatory for all eating joints to display a board of the type of Meat/Chicken being used by them is Halal or Jhatka, but that also didn’t get any response from the relevant authorities.
It is a matter of grave concern if such a practice is being followed in our forces. Eating as per an individual’s religious belief is certainly the bare minimum right one could have. By supplying Halal meat, we are only promoting the Halal economy, which has several repercussions on our society and nation.
It also has severe economic repercussions on our society. As Halal is more preferred at such a massive scale, the other practice of Jhatka is on downtrending, which is impacting the livelihood of lakhs of Hindus or Sikhs, who are indulged in the Jhatka meat preparation and supply industry. Government institutions must take adequate precautions and rationale before devising a policy in such matters.
We must come forward and insist on Army Authorities so that they can revalidate their tenders of meat supply and exclude the vendors which supply halal meat only. The existing system was good, and it could have been made better by following the FSSAI’s policies and guidelines, instead of closing down its own butcheries.
We also would like to state the Hindus and Sikhs must come forward and demand Jhatka meat to preserve the sanctity of their religious beliefs and join this crusade against the supply of Halal to non Halal eaters.