Force-feeding row wouldn`t have erupted if staffer was Hindu: Raj Thackeray

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Thursday came to the defence of beleaguered Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare and said he felt that the controversy over force-feeding of a Maharashtra Sadan staffer shouldn`t have been made into an issue of religion.

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2014, 22:33 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Mumbai: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray on Thursday came to the defence of beleaguered Shiv Sena MP Rajan Vichare and said he felt that the controversy over force-feeding of a Maharashtra Sadan staffer shouldn`t have been made into an issue of religion.
Talking to scribes, Raj said that the entire fiasco was a “mistake”, and added, “Rajan Vichare won`t do this on purpose.”

“There is no need to make this an issue of religion,” he added.

The MNS chief felt that the incident took place because Vichare wasn`t aware of the IRCTC staff`s identity. But he in the same vein added that the issue was blown out of proportion.

“Had this happened with a Hindu no one would have raised the issue,” said Thackeray.

He was referring to a recent incident where 11 Shiv Sena MPs allegedly forced a Muslim catering supervisor to break his Ramzan fast at Maharashtra Sadan in the capital.

The MPs were apparently angry over not being served Maharashtrian food, a daily reported. Snubbing 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.

Indian Railways` IRCTC immediately suspended the catering service in protest.

IRCTC complained in writing to the Maharashtra Resident Commissioner, saying the employee had been “deeply pained and hurt... as religious sentiments are attached”.

According to the daily, the Resident Commissioner apologised to IRCTC and Arshad, and asked to “meet him personally (to) convey the sentiments of our government”.

The Maharashtra government has vowed to take an “appropriate action”.

The 11 Shiv Sena MPs named in the letter are - 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).

With Agency Inputs