Even as Shiv Sena MPs have denied allegations of forcing a Muslim catering supervisor to break his Ramzan fast at Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi last week, a video footage grabbed by 'Zee Media' has emerged which clearly shows Rajan Vichare, Sena MP from Thane, forcing the Muslim supervisor to eat chapati.
Defending his act Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare siad, "I was protesting against the quality of food at Maharashtra Sadan." Later, Vichare was forced to apologise and issued a statement saying, “I regret if anyone's religious sentiments were hurt. I did not know that the employee was a Muslim. I respect all religions and have even attended roza as well as iftar parties. The real responsibility is of Resident Commissioner Bipin Mallick as to eat food we have to go to Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh bhawans.
But the act has sparked outrage with opposition parties severely criticising the Shiv Sena MPs and demanding a through probe into the matter. Senior Congress Leader Kamal Nath said, “This is an extremely shameful thing and it demonstrates the Shiv Sena's mindset."
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena party chief Uddhav Thackeray said," There was no intention to hurt religious sentiments and it is an attempt to suppress our voice",
A week ago, around 11 Shiv Sena MPs had visited the Maharashtra Sadan and were reportedly angry over not being served Maharashtrian food. The Shiv Sainiks then proceeded to force 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 incident prompted the Indian Railways' IRCTC to immediately suspend its catering service in the Sadan in protest and submit a complain in writing to the Maharashtra Resident Commissioner, saying the employee had been “deeply pained and hurt as religious sentiments are attached”. “We are investigating the matter and I can comment only after it concludes," said Pradeep Kundu, PRO, IRCTC,
In the complaint, which was forwarded to Resident Commissioner Bipin Mallick, Arshad he said, “All the guests along with media reporters and staffs of Maharashtra Sadan got into kitchen where I was getting the orders prepared. They caught me and put the chapati into my mouth. I was wearing a formal uniform set as prescribed by IRCTC and everybody in the panel also knew my name as ‘Arshad’ as I was wearing the name tag. Even then they inserted chapati in my mouth which caused my fast to break on the eve of Ramzan. I was hurt with the thing they have done as religious sentiments are concerned.”
Muslim cleric Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali reacted saying,"Muslims strongly condemn the act, and strict action should be taken by their party according to the law."
Demanding a discussion in the zero hour in Parliament, senior leader Sitaram Yechury said, "such acts won't be tolerated".
“Shiv Sena's hooliganism is not new and forcing a fasting Muslim staffer to eat reveals their true face. This act is dangerous for democracy and strict action should be taken against them,” said NCP leader Nawab Malik. Describing it as a heinous act, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “The ideology of the Shiv Sena is hatred. We condemn such acts and demand action against the MPs."
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday condemned the alleged forcing of a Muslim to break his Ramzan fast by some Shiv Sena MPs at Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi. The Chief Minister also sought to know how BJP and Shiv Sena would have reacted had a Muslim MP done a similar act.
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.
The catering supervisor of the IRCTC-managed canteen at New Maharashtra Sadan, who was force- feeded by a Shiv Sena MP in a fit of rage, has claimed chapatis were forced into his mouth even though they knew his name and his religious sentiments were hurt. In a complaint to the Maharashtra Resident Commissioner, Arshad Zubair, who was at the receiving end of the Shiv Sena MPs' anger, said chapatis were put into his mouth even though he was wearing his name tag. "I was getting the orders prepared. They caught me and put the chapatis into my mouth. I was wearing a formal uniform as prescribed by IRCTC and everybody in the panel also knew my name as "Arshad as I was wearing the name tag.
Shiv Sena president Udhhav Thackeray has demanded dismissal of Resident Commissioner of New Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, Bipin Malik, with immediate effect for allegedly providing poor quality services and food to the state's MPs.