Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) on Wednesday slammed as "unpardonable" and "uncultured" the alleged act of Shiv Sena MPs forcing a Muslim catering supervisor to break his Ramzan fast, while Sena ally BJP termed the incident at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi as "unfortunate".
"We are deeply hurt by the unfortunate incident that took place in Maharashtra Sadan. The MPs should ensure they maintain a decent character in public life, which would keep their dignity intact in front of the masses," BJP's national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
Hussain, who was here to attend an iftar party organised by Mumbai BJP, said that if the MPs had any complaints about the food, they should have either approached the IRCTC officials or the railway minister himself. "There was no need for them to vent their anger on a catering employee," he said.
But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader also said that the incident should not be politicised. "The MP who was involved in the incident has regretted his actions. While we believe that the incident was very unfortunate, it should not be politicised which is equally unfortunate," Hussain said.
Earlier in the day, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray while terming the incident as an attempt to "silence" the party's voice, said that his party had no hatred of other religions. "This (uproar over the incident) is an attempt to silence Shiv Sena's voice. We are proponents of Hindutva but we don't have hatred of other religions," Uddhav said.
Congress leader and former Mumbai MP Milind Deora described the incident as "unpardonable", and said this kind of "vigilante justice" would be on display for the next five years.
Congress' ally NCP also reacted strongly, condemning the Sena MPs and demanding their arrest. "Union home minister should ensure that a criminal case is lodged and the guilty are arrested," NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said here.
Maharashtra unit of the Samajwadi Party also criticised the incident. "For the first time I am at a loss of words to comment on their behaviour towards Muslims. These uncultured MPs should be given strict punishment and taught how to conduct themselves in public as they are now elected representatives," SP's Maharashtra President Abu Azmi said.
Maharashtra Sadan incident: Video shows Shiv Sena MP force-feeding Muslim staffer; MP Rajan Vichare forced to apologise
He added that Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray should conduct training camps for his MPs. "Uddhav Thackeray should conduct a training camp for his MPs where they should be taught that they are not in their villages anymore. They have no regard for law and are destroying the image of politicians in front of the public. They do not deserve to be MPs," he said.
Bala Nandgaonkar of maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) said it was wrong for the Sena MPs to force a Muslim to break his fast. "I am not completely aware of the incident. But if they did force a Muslim to break his fast, it is very wrong. One should make sure that people of all religions are respected," he said.
There was outrage after videos emerged of a Shiv Sena MP allegedly thrusting chapati into the mouth of a catering worker over being served poor quality food last week.
Meanwhile Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has ordered an enquiry into the complaints made by MPs regarding the services at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi. An official statement from the chief minister's office said that state's Chief Secretary J S Saharia will submit a detailed report after an inquiry.