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Force feeding Muslim staffer: HC reserves order

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a PIL seeking de-recognition of the Shiv Sena and direction for disqualifying 11 of its MPs for allegedly forcing a Muslim staffer to eat during his Ramadan fast.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath reserved the order after hearing arguments from both the parties.

The central government told the court that the home ministry had taken note of the incident.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Garib Nawaz Foundation that also sought immediate arrest of the MPs for provoking religious sentiments.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain told court that two complaints have been filed with the police but none has been filed by the victim.

"The government is sensitised about the matter. The home minister has made a speech in parliament that the government will not tolerate these kind of incidents," Jain told the court.

The plea sought initiation of criminal case against the Shiv Sena MPs, including Sanjay Rout and Rajan Vichare, who represents the Thane Lok Sabha constituency, and asked for direction to the Lok Sabha speaker and the Rajya Sabha chairman to disqualify 11 of the Sena lawmakers.

It has been alleged that July 17, Vichare, irked over the poor quality of food, force-fed Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) employee Arshad Zubair, who was the catering supervisor at Maharashtra Sadan.

The IRCTC was providing food for the Maharashtra Sadan.

The PIL said: "The action of the Shiv Sena MPs with the fasting Muslim supervisor was uncalled for and needed to be dealt with a strict action by party chief Udhav Thackeray.

"It also sought a direction to the central government to order a high-level probe into the incident by a special investigation team headed by a sitting high court judge."

"Forcefully shoving a 'chapati' by MPs was a cowardly act as they are representatives of the people and are elected by the people for their service and not for provoking religious sentiments," said the plea.

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