On Saturday, January 7, family members of Muslim students of a school in the east Medinipur district of West Bengal staged a protest against an alleged attempt to ‘desecrate’ their faith by feeding ‘Jhatka’ chicken to Muslim students. The reported incident took place in Mahisadal Raj High School in east Medinipur. The parents of Muslim students demanded the resignation of the school principal for serving non-halal meat to Muslim students.
The Muslim parents also claimed that the chicken slaughtered using the jhatka method are dead chickens, and as they are not slaughtered as per halal norms, it hurts the sentiments of the Muslims.
West Bengal: Family members of muslim students protesting and demanding resignation of Principal because school served ‘jhatka’ chicken in mid-day mean and their religious sentiments are hurt. pic.twitter.com/DhkyWT4oCI
— Facts (@BefittingFacts) January 8, 2023
In a video of the incident doing rounds on social media, family members of Muslim students are seen arguing with the school authorities. Furthermore, they raised slogans against the alleged conspiracy against Islam and even dragged Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) into the matter. They claimed that serving Jhatka chicken in mid-day meals to Muslim students is part of the “RSS agenda to hurt their religious sentiments.”
It is pertinent to mention that this school in Mahisadal block is Bengali medium school and is run by the state government’s Education Department and is not a Madrasa or Islamic educational institution.
Notably, ahead of the Panchayat elections which are likely to be held in March, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in West Bengal has recently introduced a revised mid-day meal menu for the government-run schools.
The scheme is planned for a duration of four months, starting from January till April this year. The revised mid-day meal menu includes additional nutrition in the form of eggs, chicken and seasonal fruits, which will be served weekly.
On January 3, the West Bengal School Education Department issued a notification stating that an additional Rs 372 crore will be allocated to provide eggs, chicken or fruits other than the usual menu which includes rice, potatoes, pulses, vegetables, soybean, and eggs.
“Additional nutrition will include Egg / Chicken/ Seasonal fruits which may please be added with normal PM- POSHAN on weekly basis for 4 (four) months from January ’23 to April ‘23,” said the order. It is notable that the notification only mentions chicken, and does not mention the slaughter method.
The cost for additional nutrition for students enrolled in the mid-day meal scheme now known as PM POSHAN (Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman), as mentioned in the notification is Rs 20 a week for 16 weeks. It is notable that the notification nowhere mentions whether the chicken served will be halal which is permitted in Islam or Jhatka which is prohibited or Haraam in Islam.