Wednesday, June 23, 2021
HomeEditorialForce-fed during fast: A communal saga?

Force-fed during fast: A communal saga?

Reports of 11 Shiv Sena MPs forcing a Muslim worker at Maharasahtra Sadan in Delhi to break his Ramzan fast saw UPA and Left members rising to their feet in the Lok Sabha to protest against it. In a highly oblivious act, 11 Shiv Sena MPs allegedly forced a catering supervisor to break his Ramzan fast at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi last week. The MPs were apparently angry over not being served Maharashtrian food. They were frustrated with the food quality that was served to them and in fit of anger caught that catering staff and forced a morsel in his mouth but he refused to take it in. Here begins communal saga. Neither MPs were aware that the chap whom they were forcibly feeding was a Muslim nor their intention was to break his fast. All that happened, suddenly. But, I can say that this is damn arrogance of MPs.

Second day the headlines hit in media that cold-shouldering religious sentiments, the Shiv Sainiks forced Arshad Zubair S, who was fasting for Ramzan, to eat a chapati. The incident took place when a group of around 15 MPs were discussing complaints about the lack of services at the sadan. The MPs were grinning about the food served to them, and this guy being easily accessible to them fell victim to the circumstances.

Indian Railways’ IRCTC immediately suspended the catering service in protest. IRCTC complained in writing to the Maharashtra Resident Commissioner. The entire delegation along with the electronic media and Manager, Maharashtra Sadan, walked inside the public dining hall and started throwing chafing dish covers in the buffet area. They also issued physical threats to the kitchen and service staff while using highly objectionable language.

On the other hand, there are many political leaders and social media groups which supported the act of Shiv Sena leaders. This time, they showed maturity and did not given a communal colour to the issue. I appreciate the fact that all were taking objection on media coverage. However, imagine if the story would have been exactly opposite. MPs would have been Muslims and force feed a chapatti to a Hindu employee who is fasting for Navratri or otherwise. Country would have burnt, the issue would have been politicised, so called guards of Hindu religion would come on streets. Many innocent people would have been killed. This would have been quite horrible and beyond our imagination, and today’s ‘so called’ sensible people would have become sensational. Just because its Modi sarkar and the offender is BJP ruling alliance Shiv Sena MPs, the country is safe. So, buck stops here?

Anyway, this is not about Hindu or Muslim; it is the behaviour of people in both the situations. People are hell bent on shielding errant MP. The uproar in the House came after opposition MPs expressed their dissatisfaction with the explanation of their Sena counterparts: the latter were apparently unhappy that they had not been served Maharashtrian food. This was a brazen act by Shiv Sena MPs, if they had any complaint against the Maharashtra Sadan administration, they should have gone to the Resident Commissioner. Forcing food into the mouth of a Muslim employee during Ramzan fast is not only against all religious tenants but a crime too.

Shiv Sena MPs denied the accusation; the other MPs demanded a discussion in Parliament on this issue. Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare vociferously denied the reports and requested that strict action should be taken against those who spread the rumour while adding that no one should play with religious sentiments. Forcing someone to eat something against their will, irrespective of his religion, is not done. It’s hard to believe that there are people in India who support such an act. The MPs have every right to criticise the quality of food served. However, he cannot force anybody to eat the food against his will. The clippings showed on the TV clearly shows that he has been forced. Vichare did this because he thought that he is an MP nobody would question his action. These actions of misguided MPs would only lead to communal clashes. This is totally sickening and its reason why fundamentalism is rising in the country.

Whether the contractor is Muslim or Hindu is not the issue. Let us not mix religion with politics. The behaviour of politicians especially against the poor common man is the issue. Ministers, MPs should understand that they should behave in a responsible manner. Not show high-handedness. We are living in a civilised society. Most of our political leaders consider themselves above law. If they are leaders in true sense then their action should be such that it is appreciated and followed by general public and not condemnable. Home Minister Rajnath Singh did not comment when asked about it by reporters. Many BJP leaders were silent, and other silently disapproved the act of MPs.

Anyway, these MPs must be penalised by the Parliament for their immorality. Vichare was wrong on his part and Shiv Sena must accept their MP’s mistake. They should not defend him and must apologise to Arshad. By forcefully feeding anybody against his will whether he is on fast or not is bad. You cannot express your anger against any matter in a rude way. MPs as guardian of people irrespective of their castes/ religions must be exemplary to public. It is also bad fishing in troubled water to gain mileage out of it. Now, assembly election in the state is scheduled to happen in October, so such type of activities will definitely not give any mileage to Sena.

Rajan Vichare, meanwhile, has apologised for the incident. Condemning the facilities at Maharashtra Sadan, Vichare said the incident should not be given a communal colour. Anyways apology is always a good escape from all bad deeds, do as you please, attack people, trash them, and do damage to them and then say sorry. What is the use? When will these public representatives become well behaved and aware about social etiquette? They not only have power, but have a huge responsibility as well. They need to understand that manhandling and threatening is not an answer to everything.
Shame on such representatives who bring shame to the nation. Actually, somewhere we the voters are also responsible for electing them.

Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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