Zomato delivery agents staged protests in Kolkata stating that they were “uncomfortable” handling food with beef. Muslim delivery agents stated that they did not want to deliver food containing pork.
Kolkata: Zomato is back in the headlines and this time after delivery agents stated that they were uncomfortable handling food that contained “beef and pork”. Zomato employees in Kolkata refused to deliver food containing either beef or pork and said they planned to go on an indefinite strike.
Employees of the web- and app-based food delivery app took to the streets of the West Bengal capital shouting "Zomato ki dadagiri nahi chalegi (Zomato's bullying is unacceptable)".
The protesting employees explained that Hindu agents had declared themselves uncomfortable handling food with beef, while Muslim riders said they did not want to deliver food containing pork.
"The company is not listening to our demands and forcing us to deliver beef and pork against our will. Hindus have a problem in delivering beef while Muslims do not want to deliver pork. We are not ready to deliver such things on any condition. We are forced to deliver such things," ANI quoted an employee as saying.
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Zomato then issued a clarification after employees threatened strike. "In a country as diverse as India, it is impossible to ensure that vegetarian and non-vegetarian preferences are factored into delivery logistics. Delivery partners are unequivocally made to understand the practical nature of the job as they choose to enter the workforce. All our partners understand this fully. There is a small group of partners in Howrah who've raised concerns and we're looking to resolve the issue," the food delivery platform was quoted as saying by ANI.
The consumption of beef, which is a sensitive subject in the country, became a controversial topic in 2017 after the BJP-led government at the Centre announced a nationwide ban on the slaughter of cows. BJP-ruled states believe in the protection of the cow and are opposed to the consumption of beef.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had labelled the ban "undemocratic" and "unconstitutional" and Bengal remains one of only a few prominent states in which neither the slaughter nor the consumption of beef is illegal. In June, the organisers of a beef festival in Kolkata were forced to call it off after a barrage of threatening calls and hate messages.
The action by Zomato employees in Kolkata comes a week after a Zomato user in Madhya Pradesh cancelled his order because the man delivering his meal was a "non-Hindu", triggering a nationwide debate on religious intolerance and earning him a police warning.
#ZomatoUninstalled trended at the time and the hashtag continues with this protest as well.
Last Updated 10:31 AM IST