Force-feeding the Muslim staffer by the Shiv Sena MPs was a part of the violence they unleashed at the New Maharashtra Sadan on July 17, and was fuelled by “instigation” of a section of the media. This is the key revelation in the incident report filed by the manager of the New Maharashtra Sadan, which has been accessed by The Indian Express.
“The mob broke the wall clock in the Resident Commissioner’s cabin and wrote ‘Jai Maharashtra’ on the wall. After this, they charged to IRCTC catering service in the public dining hall and then in the kitchen in a very violent manner. Seeing their aggression, many IRCTC staff including the management, the vendor etc just ran away from their respective places. The leaders of the mob were looking for IRCTC managers etc who were nowhere in the picture and had fled,” says the report, which was first submitted to the Maharashtra Resident Commissioner and has since been sent to the Maharashtra Chief Secretary.
The Indian Express reported on Wednesday that the group of 11 Sena MPs, apparently angry over the quality of food and accommodation arrangements at the Sadan, vandalised the place and allegedly tried to force a Muslim catering superviser, Arshad Zubair S, who was fasting for Ramzan, to eat a chapati.
A video grab of the incident purportedly shows Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare aggressively thrusting a chapati at Zubair’s mouth, saying “ye kha(eat this)”. Zubair first turns away, and then tells Vichare, “Main fast pe hoon (I am on fast)”. The MP thrusts the chapati into his mouth twice more, before letting it fall to the floor.
“The mob threatened to break open the stores’ door, whereupon I reached and requested them not to break the door as there was nothing but vegetables stored in it. Later, it was brought to my notice that the mob, after reaching the kitchen, had taken a chapati, questioning whether it was fit for human consumption, doubting its quality and thickness… and stuffed the chapati into the IRCTC employee’s mouth,” says the incident report.
“It is pertinent to note that this incident was provoked and fuelled by the active instigation of media personnel,” it says. “In the meanwhile, the Honorable Chief Secretary arrived at Maharashtra Sadan and offered to mediate in the matter. Accordingly, an urgent meeting was held in the video conference room by the Honorable Chief Secretary, Government of Maharashtra, with the aggrieved MPs,” says the report.
“The acts of vandalism included ransacking of camp office of the Resident Commissioner at NMS and kitchen room of NMS. They also reportedly forced a Muslim resident manager of IRCTC, namely Arshad, to consume a full chapati whilst he was having fast,” says a letter from Resident Commissioner Bipin Mallick to the Chief Secretary.
“According to an email received from IRCTC official, the acts of the Hon’ble MPs have hurt the religious sentiments of the IRCTC employees and on that ground, the IRCTC withdrew its services at NMS with immediate effect, irrespective of MoU conditions. The Resident Commissioner, on his part, tried his best to assuage the sentiment of the employee concerned and tendered a written apology… for the acts alleged to have been committed by the Hon’ble MPs. However, it was informed by Shankar Malhotra, (IRCTC) Deputy General Manager, that the decision of IRCTC was final and irreversible,” says the letter.