The Sangh Parivar’s attempt to mix communalism in food stabs at the Constitutional right of the autonomy to choose food of one’s choice, said writer and former MP Sebastian Paul.

He was delivering the inaugural address at ‘food street’, a protest organised by DYFI district committee against Sangh Parivar agenda by distributing free food, including choicest of meat, in front of Maharajas College here on Wednesday.

The Democratic Youth Federation of India launched the protest to counter BJP’s campaign against hotels selling ‘halal’ food. The BJP’s State president K. Surendran had alleged that ‘halal’ hotels in the State were fronts for radical Islamists.

“People ruling the country and their affiliates should introspect whether it suits a democratic and secular country that people have to fight for their right to eat the food of their choice. It (giving communal angle to matters of food) is a dangerous trend, which should be strongly opposed. The prayer to be provided with daily food is also about being allowed to eat food one likes. It’s also a right guaranteed in the right to life under Article 21 of Indian Constitution,” said Mr. Paul.

He said that ‘halal’ is not a complex issue but food sanctioned under the social and religious ways of a community about which the rest of the society should not have any problem. Hotels don’t have religion and even the ones identified with some communities tend to make it their unique selling point by focusing on their speciality food, which the Malayali community used to enjoy regardless.

“Mixing poison in food is not permitted under the law and the Sangh Parivar is undertaking a unique experiment of mixing an even more dangerous poison of communalism in food,” said Mr. Paul.

DYFI district secretary A.A. Anshad presided. He said that similar food streets were organised across all 14 district headquarters as part of the organisation’s ongoing campaign against Sangh Parivar agenda. “The choice of food is my freedom and none else can intervene in it. While anyone has the right not to eat some food they cannot dictate what others should eat,” he said.