Sikhs and Jhatka

I was doing some reading and came across this interesting Wikipedia entry on meat and Sikhi:

Sikhs and Jhatka

Jhatka meat is mandated for Sikhs for religious reasons.

According to the ancient Aryan Hindu tradition, only such meat as is obtained from an animal which is killed with one stroke of the weapon causing instantaneous death is fit for human consumption.

However, with the coming of Islam into India and the Muslim political hegemony, it became a state policy not to permit slaughter of animals for food, in any other manner, except as laid down in the Quran – the halal meat prepared by severing the main blood artery of the throat of the animal while reciting verses from the Quran. It is done to make slaughter a sacrifice to God and to expiate the sins of the slaughter.

Guru Gobind Singh took a rather serious view of this aspect of the whole matter. He, therefore, while permitting flesh to be taken as food repudiated the whole theory of this expiatory sacrifice and the right of ruling Muslims to impose it on the non-Muslims.

Accordingly, he made jhatka meat obligatory for those Sikhs who may be interested in taking meat as a part of their food.

— HS Singha, Sikhism, A Complete Introduction

As stated in the official Khalsa Code of Conduct, Kutha meat is forbidden, and Sikhs are recommended to eat the jhatka form of meat.

For Sikhs, jhatka karna or jhatkaund refers to the instantaneous severing of the head of an animal with a single stroke of any weapon, with the underlying intention of killing the animal whilst causing it minimal suffering.[citation needed]

During the British Raj, jhatka meat was not allowed in jails, and Sikh detainees during the Akali movement and beyond had to resort to violence and agitations to secure this right. Among the terms in the settlement between the Akalis and the Muslim Unionist government in Punjab in 1942 was that jhatka meat be continued as a Sikh Martial Heritage.

On religious Sikh festivals, including Hola Mohalla and Vaisakhi, at the Hazur Sahib Nanded, Fatehgarh Sahib, and many other Sikh Gurdwaras, jhatka meat is offered as “mahaprasad” to all visitors in a Gurdwara. This is regarded as food blessed by the Guru and should not be refused.

Some Sikh Organizations, such as the Damdami Taksal and Akhand Kirtani Jatha, have their own codes of conduct. These organizations define kutha meat as any type of slaughtered meat, and eating meat of any type is forbidden.