The differences between the Hindu/Sikh religion and Islam are manifold. Apart from the religious beliefs the methods of slaughtering animals for meat is also diametrically opposite to each other. The Sikhs and Hindus will partake of meat by a method known as Jhatka. This is a word derived from the Sanskrit word ‘ghataka’. In effect it means that the animal whose meat has to be partaken off is killed with one blow of the sword or axe, so as to sever the head from the body. The blow is so timed that the head gets severed in a single halal meats stroke.

This is diametrically opposed to the Jewish and Moslem customs where the animal to be slaughtered is ritually killed by slicing the throat with a sword or knife. In halal meat such cases the animal slowly bleeds to death. This system is referred to as halal or dhabihah. Jews refer to it as Schechita. The system of killing an animal by Jhatka is the antithesis of ritual slaughter.

Both forms of killing are sanctified by religion. But generally the Jhataka method of killing an animal may appear more humane, as the spinal cord is severed in one blow and the animal dies instantaneously as blood flow is stopped to the brain.

For the Sikhs and Hindus eating meat is not taboo, but it is enjoined that the meat they eat should only be by Jhatka. In fact during Baisakhi when the 10th Guru formed the Khalsa, he sacrificed 5 goats with one blow of his sword each time a volunteer came on the dais to sacrifice himself. It also should not be forgotten that the Muslim Union government of the Punjab in 1942 initialed an agreement with the Sikh leadership that permitted them continue to carry out Jhatka. This was recognized as a part of Sikh culture and heritage.