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Vegetarian campaign near mosque sparks clashes

The police trying to protect a PETA activist who was attacked on Monday after she tried to persuade Muslims to celebrate Bakrid with vegetarian fare. Photo: A. M. Faruqui  

Clashes broke out near the Taj-ul-Masjid in the Old Bhopal area after activists of the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals on Monday sought to persuade local Muslims to celebrate Bakrid with vegetarian fare. A policeman suffered minor injuries.

Police personnel swung into action after a crowd threw stones and footwear outside the mosque. An activist had to be rescued after the crowd surrounded her.Speaking to reporters later, Shahid Ali, Corporator of Shahajenabad and a prominent leader of the area, slammed the activists for trying to hold a campaign against a religious belief. “I am myself a vegetarian. Let them campaign for vegetarianism and protection of animals. But, they can’t target a religious belief and tradition and that too outside a shrine held dear by the local community. How can one tolerate such a thing?”

Later, in a statement, PETA said the programme was to be a “peaceful, friendly” awareness programme. “Just in time for Bakrid, a Muslim People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India, staff member planned a peaceful, friendly awareness program wearing a burqa adorned with vegetables and a green head scarf while holding a sign reading:  “Make Eid Happy for All: Try Vegan.”

 “She hoped the friendly program would encourage Bhopal residents to spare animals’ lives, protect their own health and protect the planet. Instead, she along with her young female colleagues, were attacked by a growing mob of men, slapped, beaten and pelted with stones before the programme, for which they had police permission, even began. The Bhopal police managed to rescue the women, but several were also hurt in the process. PETA’s staff members were injured, including facial injuries, and had to be escorted to the hospital by police, and given police protection. Too shaken up to immediately file an FIR, the women plan to file it after they tend to their trauma and injuries.”

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 12:15:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/vegetarian-campaign-near-mosque-sparks-clashes/article6436604.ece

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