Uproar after India MP 'force-feeds' Muslim fasting worker

By AFP
Published: July 23, 2014
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Opposition says lawmaker had violated the man's religious beliefs. PHOTO: REUTERS

Opposition says lawmaker had violated the man's religious beliefs. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI: India’s parliament erupted in anger on Wednesday after television footage showed a hard-line Hindu nationalist lawmaker apparently trying to force-feed a Muslim man during the fasting month of Ramazan.

Opposition Congress MPs launched raucous protests in the parliament, saying the lawmaker had violated the man’s religious beliefs by aggressively trying to force a chapati in his mouth.

“It is absolutely reprehensible and should be condemned in the strongest possible manner,” Congress party spokesman Manish Tewari later told reporters.

The lawmaker is from the hard-line Hindu nationalist outfit Shiv Sena, a key ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party which swept to power at May elections.

The incident is likely to fan concern among Muslims and other religious minorities over Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

The footage, aired on national television, showed a group of Shiv Sena lawmakers confronting a catering supervisor last Thursday in New Delhi.

The lawmakers were complaining about the quality of food offered at a guest house for officials from the state of Maharashtra, where Shiv Sena is based.

The footage showed lawmaker Rajan Baburao Vichare attempting several times to push the bread into the supervisor’s mouth as a crowd gathered.

Vichare said he was not trying to break the supervisor’s religious fast. Instead he was trying to demonstrate that the chapatis being served were too hard.

“This was only a protest against the quality of food and other arrangements at the Maharashtra Sadan (guest house) where all the important dignitaries come and stay,” Vichare told Headlines Today news channel.

“The canteen management here is in a bad state. The chapatis they made didn’t even break, the quality of vegetables and pulses is bad.”

“Making this a religious issue doesn’t make sense,” he said.

The catering company’s general manager said the supervisor had been “deeply pained and hurt” over the incident as “religious sentiments are attached”.

The manager said the lawmakers had marched into the dining hall last week flanked by television crews and threw kitchen items around.

“They also issued physical threats to the kitchen and service staff while using highly objectionable language,” the manager said in an email to a Maharashtra government official, which was obtained by the Indian Express newspaper.

Shiv Sena, which has a history of intimidation and creating unrest against minorities, won 18 seats at the election and is now the sixth biggest party in parliament.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • Patriotic Pakistani
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:42PM

    This is the reason why Qaid-e-Azam created Pakistan.

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  • Pity
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:43PM

    So much so for secular India. Thank God we live in Pakistan.

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  • nyc
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:47PM

    Whenever I read news like, I just become so happy Muhammad Ali Jinnah did what he did. He foresaw all this, and thank God he accomplished his goals. I dont care how much the Indians berate Pakistan specially here at ET (they apparently think India is better than Pakistan) , I love my country. It’s my country. We’ve already solved the hardest problem 67 years ago , which was actually acquiring Pakistan. These petty little problems that we now face, they’ll be solved soon. But in conclusion, thank God I dont have to worry about some Shiv Sena thugs force feeding me.

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  • Insafian
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:51PM

    “Vichare said he was not trying to break the supervisor’s religious fast. Instead he was trying to demonstrate that the chapatis being served were too hard.
    “This was only a protest against the quality of food and other arrangements at the Maharashtra Sadan (guest house) where all the important dignitaries come and stay,” Vichare told Headlines Today news channel.”

    LOL. Doing a crime and then not even apologizing about it. This is secular India ladies and gentleman. World’s “biggest” democracy at your service.
    And mark my words, this MP will not be punished for this. Just wait, and watch.

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  • Ram
    Jul 23, 2014 - 3:58PM

    I am sure he didn’t have any idea about his religion..

    But even then this act is idiotic and can’t be defended

    P.S Contrary to popular opinion in pak…most North Indians actually hate SHIVSENA and believe they have nothing to do with Hinduism

    Shivsena actually divides party on basis of region (read again..i didn’t say religion) –their religion or country stance is more of publicity stunt

    Also keep in mind north indians are more anti Pakistan.. just like Punjabi Pakistani are more anti india than rest of the countryRecommend

  • Indian
    Jul 23, 2014 - 4:02PM

    I am an Indian and like most of my countrymen, condemn this vigorously and call for punishment of the guilty. Really shameful.

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  • J
    Jul 23, 2014 - 4:12PM

    This enlightens the importance of TWO NATION THEORY..

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  • Stranger
    Jul 23, 2014 - 4:16PM

    Please don’t make mountains out of molehills . The. ‘Accused’ has already justified and clarified his action .

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  • sharabi
    Jul 23, 2014 - 4:40PM

    As a Muslim myself i condemn this incident but religion has nothing to do with it, That MP was complaining about quality of food being served & he does not know that Mess worker is a Muslim.
    But the behavior of that MP was not civilized.

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  • doesnt matter
    Jul 23, 2014 - 5:55PM

    it’s unecessary to give a religious context to an act of pure hooliganism. The guy didnt have a beard or wear clothes which made it apparent that he was muslim. Infact if i were Arshad i would be more aghast at the misbehaviour of the rowdy politician rather than the breaking of my fast.

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  • Someone
    Jul 23, 2014 - 6:16PM

    Wasn’t it Indians jumping up and down out of their chairs on ET a few weeks ago lecturing over China’s Ramadan policy in Xinjiang? Looks like India is not far from becoming Xinjiang.

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  • Mayuresh
    Jul 23, 2014 - 6:32PM

    typical gunda gardi from Indian MPs, doesn’t matter they are shivsena or some other party. Unnecessarily made into a religious issue. Nothing gained from this non-sense. Lack of accountability for people in power is the issue here which will not be solved unless institutions like police and courts can take cognizance and act against such things

    Pakistani friends, its pitiful to justify creation of Pakistan on the basis of these acts. Pakistan was created in the last century, its done. Jinnah and Nehru were purely motivated by their ambitions for political power, nothing more, all else was political convenience. Human beings will create such acts if there is no check on them. Just cutting the pizza into more pieces does not create any more goodness as the ingradients are still the same

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  • lol
    Jul 23, 2014 - 6:59PM

    SHUKAR ALHAMDULILLAH I HAVE A COUNTRY OF MY OWN! Feel sorry for Muslims in India!

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  • nadir
    Jul 23, 2014 - 7:09PM

    Great Muhammad Ali Jinnah, RIP as you salvaged us from the slavery of Hindu Slaves,,,as the modern European democracy left by colonial powers would have made Muslims subjects of the Hindu Majority which for 1000 years had remained our subjects,,,RIP Quaid for your great vision

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  • Naeem Khan Manhattan,Ks
    Jul 23, 2014 - 7:17PM

    The land of milk and honey and the proclaimed largest democracy in the world do no wrong and there will always be some excuse put forward to hood wink the world. Would the people reprimand the MP,I doubt it very much. Where are those Indian Trolls now who has been spewing venom at Pakistanis at every chance they get. Now they are out there and defending the MP that he did not know the religion of the supervisor whom he demanded by name to come and present himself before his majesty and then confronted him. The Indian never do any wrong, they will always be reasonable to reason whatever they do even the Gujrat massacre, and then go on and elect the guy who was the Chief Minister and responsible for that massacre to become the Prime Minister. If I recall correctly this Modi guy was not allowed to enter the US.

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  • Another Indian
    Jul 23, 2014 - 7:33PM

    @Indian:
    Please speak for yourself and not for “most” Indians. You do not represent any Indian other than yourself

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  • Rakib
    Jul 23, 2014 - 7:45PM

    It is more a case of crude conduct.. Hypothetically, it is equally possible that a vegetarian Hindu employee would have a stale mutton-samosa shoved down his gullet by some other arrogant politician, may be a Muslim, somewhere else in India. IMO the real question is how can a people’s elected representative behave like this with ANY human being at ANY time, fasting or otherwise & get away? However, the “mess worker” is a manager & had his Muslim name-tag prominently pinned on his chest. He also clearly said, loud enough, that he was fasting & not to do this. And yet the baboon from Shiv Sena went on with his behaviour safe in knowledge that nothing will happen to him since BJP is his ally after all. Together they form a special brand of Saffron-the only kind that stinks.

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  • PeaceMonger
    Jul 23, 2014 - 7:50PM

    The act is unacceptable and as an Indian I am personally ashamed. The 1di0t who did this belongs in jail. But I still thank Mr.Jinnah for creating Pakistan. Jinnah Zindabad !!

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  • Sara
    Jul 23, 2014 - 8:57PM

    What we have done with Hindus in Pakistan is nothing compared to this incident.

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  • Me
    Jul 23, 2014 - 9:08PM

    Shame on SECULAR India.

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  • Indian
    Jul 23, 2014 - 9:12PM

    @ Another Indian – really? All the people I talked to agree this is an act of hooliganism of the highest order. I dont know where in India (or world) you are living in, but it will be hard to find people who support this kind of behaviour.

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  • Timorlane
    Jul 23, 2014 - 9:17PM

    Every day we are reminded by hindu terrorists that how true was Quaid e Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his winning a separate homeland for us.

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  • Come to the point
    Jul 23, 2014 - 9:19PM

    Everybody praising Jinnah here please read the first sentence: “India’s parliament erupted in anger …….
    How much anger Pakistani Parliament has ever shown over maltreatment of non-Muslims (or even some Muslims) in their country? None! So you guys will probably never understand how seriously India takes such incidents, and to what extent she will go to prevent them.

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  • ali
    Jul 23, 2014 - 9:26PM

    Now that’s terrorism

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  • sudeep
    Jul 23, 2014 - 9:34PM

    Really really pathetic. I am so ashamed as an Indian.

    Our political class, with rare exception, is an epitome of thuggery and this unfortunately extends across all parties.

    We have a long way to go before we can call the political class normal humans, let alone pillars of society.

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  • iAppreciate
    Jul 23, 2014 - 9:55PM

    As a Pakistani, I thank all Indian friends here for denouncing the Gunda Gardi by one of their own, against a Muslim servant. There are good and bad people on both sides if the border, no doubt. After all, we were one nation a long while back, if not today.

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  • Another Indian
    Jul 23, 2014 - 10:02PM

    @Indian:
    It does not matter how many other Indians may agree with you or not or whether you position has merit or not. The issue is simply that when you speak you only speak for yourself alone in your personal capacity. So post your comments accordingly. You have neither conducted a referandum of all the Indian people nor have they authorised you to speak for “majority” of them.

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  • Strategic Asset
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:36AM

    Bottom-line is someone should teach our MPs that they have no right to physically manhandle anyone.

    While this incident has religious hues and many Pakistanis here are solely concerned with a Muslim breaking his fast, the fact is that this incident is outrageous for many Indians as many strictly-vegetarian Hindus would wonder whether they are next and if some MP would shove chicken down his throat. Or Jains may wonder if an MP would force them onions.

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  • Logique
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:54AM

    Because of this, I’m glad once again that the partition happened, and whatnot. Only Pakistani Muslims have the right to torture, kill, or maim other Muslims, as we Pakistanis well know. Furthermore, if we torture minorities in Pakistan, it’s not really grounds for a partition of Pakistan, because that’s not logical.

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  • Mustafa
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:42AM

    whichever Indians are happy with shiv I hope something bad happens withthem we treat hindus in Pakistan really gratefully

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  • someone
    Jul 24, 2014 - 7:43AM

    @iAppreciate:
    Muslim servant??? Who told you he was a servant? He was a worker of IRCTC.

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  • Aysha M
    Jul 24, 2014 - 9:05AM

    Dear Maulana Azad, wish my grandfather had paid heed to your prophetic words, its all happening now

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  • James
    Jul 24, 2014 - 10:10AM

    India should stop emulating China and instead follow the good example set by Pakistan in its treatment of minorities.

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  • MAD
    Jul 24, 2014 - 10:18AM

    Two Nation Theory proven right

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  • MyMother
    Jul 24, 2014 - 11:10AM

    @Aysha M: Sorry! But you can always go back!

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  • Daubic
    Jul 24, 2014 - 12:21PM

    This incident is really idiotic to be precise rather than targeting a particular religion. Yes what the MP did is really stupid, when the food is not good, he should have behaved properly rather than try to force to insert the food on the person who served him. Having said that, it is most irresponsible by a person occupying a seat in parliament. But is it targeting a religion as most are suggesting here in this forum like,
    1. Two nation theory is correct
    2. Thank god Jinnah formed Pakistan
    3. Feeling sorry for Muslims in India
    4. For good sake my ancestors, moved out of Hindu Land like India to Pakistan etc….

    Are these statements make sense in any way. To be very frank, I am an Indian Muslim and when I read this news in the local newspaper, I was discussing to my friends, whether these MP ever use their brain for any purpose. I felt this incident is more idiotic angry reaction rather than planned attack on religion sentiments. As a matter of fact this incident has not gone down with most of the Hindus & Christians in India, that’s the beauty of the country. When a Hindu is attacked for some unfair reason, Muslim & Christian raise his voice and the reverse is also true.

    Not fighting like I belong to different sectarian and you belong to different sectarian, so we are enemies. Please understand this is not a racial, religion abuse targeting a particular religion or race, this incident is an angry reaction of an individual person in power who has no brains or inactive brains. That’s it.

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  • hmm
    Jul 24, 2014 - 2:20PM

    @Daubic:
    yeah right you’re an Indian muslim just like all other Indian trolls who sometimes impersonate as Pakistanis and as muslims to spew hatred on a pakistani news site :)….. I hope you guys build babri masjid someday, if India really is a secular country. yet to see the “beauty” of it :)

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  • Daubic
    Jul 24, 2014 - 3:50PM

    hmm, good to hear from you. If i say something truth, I am called Indian troll(very good). I never told, I am Pakistani (Where is the question of impersonation comes from) Lets talk about hypocrisy at our sides. You are saying building Babri Masjid, to prove that we are secular. OK OK good to hear. I do agree that it was not correct to demolish something that is sentimentally close to some religion. Having said that, can we go to the past. How did all the Muslim emperors, built their territory?

    Is it via love, peace, affection, care etc…… no. Empires are built using war, injecting fear, superimposition of ideology etc…… So having said that the Muslim fraternity comes from middle east to occupy Indian lands posing their religion, ideologies on us(us include Indians + Pakistanis + Bangladeshis…..) Because some of us relent to their pressure, we might have been convert to their religions following what they said. That’s why even today those real Arabs don’t give equal status to us Muslims (I mean people from sub-continent). Do you want to prove me wrong. I would like to hear from you.

    Please answer for any of the below questions.
    1. Can you prove that you are an equal Muslim to that of an Muslim in Middle East
    2. May be try to get married to their girls (that could prove it) or
    3. Try to get citizenship in their land
    4. Try to play a meaty role (Decision making roles) in their government etc…….

    If any of the above can be done by you folks, I would agree that they treat you on par with their Muslims. Then you can talk about UMMAH of Muslims. To be very frank, you folks are never considered to be on par with the Muslims across the middle east. Same thing goes good with us too. So where is the pride of being Muslim or living in Muslim country comes from. Having said that, my country(as I told you, I am Indian Muslim), gives all the freedom to express myself. I got educated from the scholarship of Indian tax payers (the taxes would be paid by Hindus, Christians, Muslims ….. I don’ know). So what I realized is, if you have talent, you can survive in India. So when compared to the other sides, there is not much discrimination like in middle east and your side.

    Here is what I have to say to you. Babri Masjid was demolished before 2 decades for whatever reasons. Common public viewed that as a wrong precedent and that’s why there are no such incidents similar to that in India. Can you say the same thing in Pakistan.

    This is what I read from your side daily.

    Tens of temples getting demolished every year (Google out for count in the last 5 years)
    Hindus driven away or forced for conversion
    Hindus, Christians and other minorities having to pay additional security tax to stay in Land of Pure

    what else………..

    I can bet that we are million times secular than anybody in the world. That’s why the world accepts us as normal citizens. Whatever we do world accepts, the whole world comes and opens institutions, companies in India. Do you know, how many Pakistanis ought to say that they are Indians when they are in the Western World. You need India to safe guard you and survive in the western world. But always utter bad things about us every time.

    I am not trying to blame you, but I would just give one advise. Unless and until somebody realizes that something is wrong with them, they would never correct their mistakes or come up in life.

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  • Jul 24, 2014 - 6:28PM

    I wish that all of you in Pakistan had freedom to open any TV channel of India on 23 July 2014. You would have realized what India is. Every channel and every participant was condemning, decrying this act of the MP and demanding action against the MP. It looked as if entire India was seething with anger across party, religion, region lines. Even the people of the party of this MP were condemning his act. Believe me we in India accept with open mind and heart any wrong and try to take corrective action. We do not believe in denying and sweeping under carpet the wrongs. Yes we are not perfect. We do not want to justify but even in the most democratic countries like America innocent people like sikhs have been killed just for wearing a beard.Remember more Muslims live in India.

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  • dada
    Jul 25, 2014 - 12:04AM

    Pakistanis and Indians need to understand the real issue. Maharashtra Sadan is supposed to be serving public servants who are Maharashtrians if not Marathis only. ConAngrezi politicians gave the contract to build it to their mafia criminal builder to build Maharashtra Sadan. The Conangrezi minister has been accused of engineering a land barter deal in favor of a private firm, Chamankar Builders, which built Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, the High Mount guest house and transport offices and residential quarters in Mumbai. The builder secured the right to develop a part of land in Mumbai, which can be sold in the open market. ConAngrezi minister Bhujbal is also accused of securing sub-contracts in the Maharashtra Sadan project for companies run by his kin. Chamankar is expected to reaped a bonanza of over Rs 1,000 crore by redeveloping this plot, which he received as an incentive for constructing Sadan and two buildings in Mumbai for Rs 100 crore for the government.

    The resident Manager to look after facility, one Mr. Malik is not Marathi or Maharashtrian. Catering contractor is Railways who subcontracted it to a company who employs not a single Marathi or Maharashtrian. Maharashtrian Members of Parliaments do not get accommodation in Maharashtra Sadan, they are rented out to private parties who are not even Maharashtrian. The food served is not at all Marathi and quality is very bad. Chapathis cannot be even torn with both hands. If you take a dip in daal, then also you will not be able to find a grain of daal in the watery daal. Shivsena MPs were protesting that. They had given written complain to Mr. Malik but he did not take any action. In the above incident Shiv Sena MP Vichare asked the catering subcontractor employee to taste what they had prepared. ShivSena is not known for Gandhian hunger strike protest.Recommend

  • truthbetold
    Jul 25, 2014 - 12:30AM

    The instinctive stereotypical response of the Pakistanis to make everything a Hindu-Muslim issue is not surprising.

    While any violence should be condemned, and recognizing that the politician was wrong to physically assault, the guy was pretesting against bad quality of the food and was angrily reacting against the restaurant manager. Why is this a religious issue? The politician didn’t even know anything about the restaurant manager’s religion etc.

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  • someone
    Jul 25, 2014 - 6:34AM

    @Patriotic Pakistani:
    Yeah and this also one of the reasons why it failed

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/740662/cruel-justice-landlord-severs-boys-arms-after-beating-him/

    And irony is, not a single comment on this story from Pakistanis. SHAME.

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  • someone
    Jul 25, 2014 - 6:38AM

    Now lets see, which country is better for Muslims. A country where a Muslim was accidentally forced feed or a country where the arms for a 10 year old boy were severed in the month of Ramzaan.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/740662/cruel-justice-landlord-severs-boys-arms-after-beating-him/

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  • someone
    Jul 25, 2014 - 7:05AM

    @Patriotic Pakistani:
    You have no idea how how much thankful Indians are to Mr. Jinnah too. It is because Mr. Jinnah that India is relatively peaceful. Had there been no partition, India would have been a war zone every single day.

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  • Jul 25, 2014 - 9:18AM

    X serves bad food, Y protest with anger and Creation of Pakistan gets justified.

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  • Jul 25, 2014 - 9:19AM

    X serves bad food, Y protest with anger and Creation of Pakistan gets justified.Recommend

  • Jul 25, 2014 - 9:33AM

    @All Misinformed
    How many of Pakistani thinks that Chapati was pushed till throat ? or even touched the tongue ?

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  • observer
    Jul 25, 2014 - 12:11PM

    @someone:

    “Now lets see, which country is better for Muslims. A country where a Muslim was accidentally forced feed or a country where the arms for a 10 year old boy were severed in the month of Ramzaan.”

    Good points.

    This Indian MP incident is made into to a Hindu-Muslim issue by the leftists as part of their politically motivated agenda. Couple of years ago, a bunch of Muslims in Kerala hacked off the hand of a Christian professor in Kerala for cooked up blasphemy charge. At that time, there wasn’t even a whisper about this barbaric religiously motivated incident from the bleeding heart leftists who are making hue and cry about this stupid MP “force-feeding” incident.

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  • Gurion
    Jul 25, 2014 - 3:51PM

    @sudeep:

    Really really pathetic. I am so
    ashamed as an Indian.

    Be comforted Sir, for rest of India is ashamed of your lack of factual knowledge.

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  • Jul 26, 2014 - 1:20PM

    @dada: I do not care if Pakistanis and Indians understand your long long defence of this barbaric and uncouth act of an MP. The truth is his behavior needs strict action against him. All your story about Maharashtra Bhavan may be true but what right any one has to take law in his hand and degrade and torture a staff member. I am sure you will not dare to do some thing like this in any hotel and if you do you will be arrested for this barbaric conduct. This MP has put the entire parliament of India to shame and deserves no sympathy or justification.

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