press club of india, Indian Tehalka News
It may have been an event to protest against the ban on beef imposed in certain parts of the country but the event organised by a non-descript organisation here on Friday ended up in bringing people with different political leaning on one table.
The sight of former city mayor and senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Biaksh Ranjan Bhattacharya helping poet and Sahitya Akademi awardee Subodh Sarkar with a delicacy of beef at the event is an unusual site considering the political divide between the two.
However, the event was organised by Bhasa-O-Chetna Samity bridged the divide and both former Mayor and the poet spoke in unison espousing the cause of freedom of choice when it comes to food.
While Mr. Bhattachrya also argued that price of pulses have gone up, beef remains the source of cheap protein for the people, Mr Sarkar said that interference in food choice tantamounts to attack on individual freedom.
Former Left Front Minister and MLA Abur Razzak Mollah, also made it a point to reach the venue of protest and support the protest.
One of the key organisers of the symbolic protest Emanul Haque, a professor Bengali told The Hinduthat along with beef, they had arranged for vegetables and sweets.
“We are not saying that everyone should eat beef but people should be free to eat whatever they feel like,” Mr. Haque said. He along with handful of protestors held posters, shouted slogans and sang songs in favour of the protests in presence of large deployment of police.
Interestingly, beef is not banned in West Bengal and the State has one of the highest per capita consumption of beef in the country baring the north-eastern States.
Only a few metres away from the protest venue in Esplanade area of the city a number of eateries have delicacies of beef on the menu. It was also leant that the organisers had procured some of the beef from these eateries, which like other days did brisk business.
However, a section of clerics and representative of minority community described it as more of a “publicity stunt” or “exhibitionism” than protest. A section of people also said that the protests turned out to be a damp squid. Not only the BJP but the Congress also decried the protest.
While BJP State president Rahul Sinha said the public eating of beef has hurt majority sentiment Congress MP and State president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that since there is no restriction on beef in West Bengal such as event is uncalled for and unnecessary.
From: The Hindu