07/23/2014, 00.00
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India, Hindu politicians force Muslim to break Ramadan fast

Some members of the Maharashtra Hindu Nationalist Shiv Sena Party were unhappy with the food consumed. They forced an employee - of the Islamic faith - to eat a chapati (flat bread).

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Annoyed with not having been offered "real Maharashtra food of ", a group of Shiv Sena MPS's forced an employee of the catering service to eat a chapati (flat bread). In addition to the abuse of power, their arrogance has sparked civil society protests: the man forced to eat is Muslim and was in full fasting for Ramadan.

Given the particular period , his religious affiliation was clearly displayed on a badge on his uniform. The incident occurred on July 17 in the Sadan (guest house) of the State of Maharashtra in New Delhi, but the news was only reported today.

Shrikant Shinde, one of the MPs involved, denies the allegations: "We did not force anyone to break the fast. We were just protesting against the poor service and bad food, that is all".

This version is quite different to the victim's. Arshad Zubair says the "guests" entered the kitchen, "caught me and put the chapati into my mouth. He also said he was wearing a uniform with a name tag, so everyone knew his name. "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".

Other Sadan employees report that the leader of the Shiv Sena also vandalized the office of Bipin Mallik, the representative of the Government of Maharashtra (Resident Commissioner) in New Delhi and administrator of the guest house. The man has apologized to the catering agency for the accident.

The case has sparked strong reactions across India, as the Shiv Sena is one of the oldest and most faithful allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu ultra-nationalist party at the helm of the central government.

The Shiv Sena ("Army of Shiva") is a nationalist party that claims the identity of the native Hindu people of Maharashtra (the Marathi). It was founded in 1966 by Bal Thackeray, a controversial figure involved - among other things - in the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque in Ayodhya, by Hindu nationalists (1992) and in the riots between Hindus and Muslims in Mumbai (1992-1993) .


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