Controversy is given a communal tinge once again. What could be best described as an unwelcomed act gets the tag of Hindu-Muslim rivalry. Rajan Vichare, an MP of Shiv Sena captured attention and garnered negative publicity with his act, the video of which was circulated in TV news channels. Vichare apparently force fed chapati to a Muslim supervisor in Maharashtra Sadan at Delhi to give him a taste of the low quality of food served to them. Rajan suffered humiliation as the issue was blown out of proportion and he was forced to apologise publicly for his act.
The matter poured in attacks and counter attacks from all sides as blame game began. While BJP played defensive, Congress acted aggressive. Nawab Malik, NCP leader, called it an act of hooliganism while Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant roared that the ideology of Shiv Sena was to spread hatred. SP called the act uncouth and unpardonable. While such reactions were expected, Vichare was forced to justify his act. Post his apology, here came his justification. Firstly, Vichare said that he did not know that Arshad was a Muslim. If Rajan was aware that Arshad was fasting he would never have resorted to such an act. The supervisor, according to him, was not wearing any badge to reveal the same. Secondly, he had acted out in a fit of rage. So this issue was being given a communal tinge to create chaos and derive political mileage out of it.
BJP took a safe stand and it’s spokespersons refused to comment on the issue as Shiv Sena is its ally. However, the question which arises is was the outrage caused over this issue justified or is it the case of making a mountain out of a mole hill? The answer is both, to a certain extent. In defence of Vichare, I can say that he has repeatedly clarified that he had no knowledge of the person in question’s religion at the time of the act. So why politicians is unnecessarily giving a communal colour to this issue? There is no need to trigger the fury of a certain community and sow the seeds of a riot like situation in future. The intention of Vichare was not to hurt someone’s religious sentiments.
However, Omar Abdullah was right when he asked that what would the situation be like if the opposite had happened, i.e if a Muslim had force fed a Hindu, even unknowingly? It would have led to untoward outcome. However, the severity of the situation although should be undermined, cannot be discarded totally as the act was uncalled for. An MP is the representative of people of his constituency. What message are we giving to the people and the world at large? Such a behaviour should not be tolerated. Vichare should be punished to set an example for the rest. So punish him but don’t bring in religion into the scene. We don’t want a riot-like situation again.