thrust a roti in the mouth of the employee…..Vichare claimed that he did not do anything….footage was aired on TV channels….”I did not know the person’s name, caste or community”……Vichare later said, “I came to know
that the employee was a Muslim only after seeing TV footage and I regret
The moral of the story: you felt insulted, so you feel free to insult others.
We frequently interact with a muslim girl and her (muslim) boyfriend. The girl is fasting but the boy does not. (they also do not have any visible ID marks – hijab, skullcap). Being forgetful, we would often cry out “enough working, what shall we do for lunch?” She would always smilingly point at BF and tell us to go ahead and enjoy the biryani. We feel guilty and we apologize. But then we also have Hindus (both genders) who fast on particular days or have a restricted diet (vegetarian). While they assure us that it is OK for us to have non-veg food in their presence it feels rude and we try to avoid it.
What happened in Maharashtra Sadan was most likely a genuine mistake made in the heat of the moment but the burden of explanation is with the perpetrators. Even if a Hindu had been fasting, it would be a grave violation to force a chapati down his throat. The point is – it will not be enough to say sorry, we did not know he was a Muslim.
Yes, we get that all sorts of people do not like non-violence as a policy (because it signifies weakness). In that case however one should be fully prepared to accept the consequences of violent actions which cause serious harm. Many times it happens that (powerful) people abuse and get away scot-free by sorting out the “mis-understanding”. Justice must happen here, must happen in a visible way, and must happen in a timely manner. No excuses.
A group of around 11 Shiv Sena MPs, apparently angry over not being
served Maharashtrian food, allegedly forced a Muslim catering superviser
who was fasting for Ramzan to eat a chapati at the new Maharashtra
Sadan in Delhi last week.
Within hours, IRCTC, the Indian Railways subsidiary that was catering
for the Sadan, stopped all operations in protest, and complained in
writing to the Maharashtra Resident Commissioner, saying the employee,
Arshad Zubair S, had been “deeply pained and hurt… as religious
sentiments are attached”.
The Resident Commissioner subsequently apologised to IRCTC and
Arshad, and asked to “meet him personally (to) convey the sentiments of
The Maharashtra government has said it is examining the matter, and
has promised “appropriate action”. The MPs have said that they were
“insulted” at the Sadan, but claimed that the allegations against them
In an email sent to Resident Commissioner Bipin Mallick on July 17,
IRCTC Deputy GM Shankar Malhotra wrote: “Today there was a meeting of
12-15 MPs at New Maharashtra Sadan in the Press Conference Hall in which
they were complaining about the services of Electrical, civil,
housekeeping, catering, etc. which they are facing from the last several
months in the premises of Maharashtra Sadan.
“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
The specific incident happened with the Resident
Manager/IRCTC, Sh. Arshad who was forced to consume full chapati whilst
he was having fast on the eve of Ramzan. The concerned has been deeply
pained and hurt on this account as religious sentiments are attached.”
Malhotra said that the MPs “demanded [a] Maharashtrian caterer in the
NMS [New Maharashtra Sadan]. It may be noted that this is not the first
time that such an incident has happened. We have received no support
from the NMS management in this regard.”
In his complaint, which was forwarded to Mallick, Arshad 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
Soon after the incident, IRCTC pulled out of work at the Sadan
because of “instances of manhandling of staff, use of abusive language,
discriminatory actions with regional and religious biases and veiled
threats towards the personnel of IRCTC as well as the service provider”.
The canteen at the Sadan is currently shut.
Mallick, the Resident Commissioner, sent a letter of apology to IRCTC, expressing “his shock” at the incident.
“I can understand the pain and the agony of your Resident Manager,
Mr. Arshad who was forced to do something against his religious belief.
On behalf of my state government, I convey sincere apology to Mr. Arshad
for the indignation caused to him by a few Hon’ble MPs while he was
performing his duties and rendering services for our government. I would
like to meet him personally and convey the sentiments of our
government,” Mallick said in the letter, which has been accessed by The
The Maharashtra Chief Secretary has been apprised of the incident.
The letter sent to him names 11 Shiv Sena MPs: Sanjay Raut (Rajya
Sabha), Anandrao Adsul (Amravati), Rajan Vichare (Thane), Arvind Sawant
(Mumbai-South), Hemant Godse (Nashik), Krupal Tumane (Ramtek), Ravindra
Gaikwad (Osmanabad), Vinayak Raut (Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg), Shivaji
Adhalrao Patil (Shirur), Rahul Shewale (Mumbai-South Central) and
Shrikant Shinde (Kalyan).
When contacted by The Indian Express, Chief Secretary J Saharia said,
“There are allegations like this. We are examining the whole issue and
appropriate action will be taken.”
MP Sanjay Raut said, “These are wrong allegations, someone is doing
mischief. There are many problems with Maharashtra Sadan that have come
up, but I don’t even stay there.”
An incident report filed by the manager of the Sadan said “the mob”,
which included the MPs’ supporters and members of the media, damaged the
Resident Commissioner’s office.
“The mob threatened to break the glass door of RC’s chamber in New
Maharashtra Sadan, forced an employee to open the door, occupied the
cabin and started shouting slogans etc. Thereafter, the mob broke the
wall clock in RC’s cabin and wrote ‘Jai Maharashtra’ on the wall,” the
Mumbai-South MP Arvind Sawant said, “I have been living there for the
past two months, and have faced nothing but insults. There are so many
rooms here for MLAs, Ministers of State and Secretaries, but all the MPs
from Maharashtra have been boxed into tiny rooms. All of this, even as 4
MPs from Uttar Pradesh have larger rooms. Is this not an insult?”
Sawant added, “The food at the Sadan is terrible. It is run by the
Railways people who know nothing about Maharashtrian food. If you go to
Andhra Bhawan, you are served Andhra food, but here Railways people make
the food. They even gave stale water.
We wanted to sort these issues
out amicably, and did not come with the intention of committing
violence. But even on that day, the Resident Commissioner refused to
meet us, and after a lot of delay, said that he had gone to receive the
Chief Secretary at the airport. Is that not an insult? No tod phod
happened at all, but we have been provoked in a sustained manner. Nobody
was manhandled, but if you keep abusing, will someone not slap?