India’s parliament was adjourned to protest against some hungry right wing MPs so angry that a government canteen in Delhi did not serve the food they wanted that bread was forced into the mouth of a Muslim kitchen worker who was fasting for Ramadan.
Parties in opposition followed the Congress by protesting in parliament against the action and called on the Shiv Sena Party to apologise, calling it a violation of religious beliefs. Shiv Sena, based in Western Maharashtra state, later denied the incident took place.
However Rajan Baburao Vichare, shown on CCTV trying to force-feed the Muslim worker on Tuesday (22 July), later told the Press Trust of India that his action against the kitchen worker was merely a display of protest against the standard of food.
He said: “I came to know that the employee was a Muslim only after seeing TV footage and I regret it.”
The supplier at the government guesthouse canteen was then reported as saying the employee was ‘deeply pained and hurt as religious sentiments are attached’. Catering services at the canteen have since been stopped.
Shiv Sena was created to stop the spread of Islam and to keep southern Indian migrants out of the Maharashtra state, according to the BBC. The news channel said the party was known for inciting religious violence such as tensions between Hindus and Muslims causing 900 people to be killed during the Mumbai riots in 1993.
It is the sixth largest party in the parliament with 18 MPs and supportive of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.