IRCTC’s “vegetarian-friendly” trains; India’s version of apartheid trains? asks social media

After IRCTC was announced to have “vegetarian-friendly travel” in “sattvik certified” trains running on routes connecting religious sites, by Sattvik Council of India from November 15, concerned netizens took to Twitter on the same.

In a press release, the Sattvik council of India, an NGO involved in the certification of vegetarian food said that the IRCTC has an “understanding” with it and has decided to seek “certification” for some of the trains that go to pilgrimage destinations like the Vande Bharat express which goes from Delhi to Katra, in Jammu and Kashmir.

This formula is likely to be replicated in around 18 trains, it said.

In addition to developing a handbook of vegetarian kitchens jointly with the IRCTC, Sattvik Council of India will also be launching the ‘sattvik’ certification scheme on 15 November.

“IRCTC base kitchens, executive lounges, budget hotels, food plazas, travel and tour packages, Rail Neer plants will be ‘sattvik’ certified to ensure vegetarian-friendly travel,” the statement read.

“What ridiculous nonsense! Why should IRCTC decide what citizens should eat on-board? This is blatant imposition of Brahminical oppression by a government agency. Majority of Indians consume meat no matter how much those in power & their supporters are desperate to deny it,” Anusha Ravi Sood, a journalist tweeted.

Prosenjit Datta, another journalist asks, Why not call it what it is: Non-Vegetarian Unfriendly Trains.

“Love how they are calling it ‘vegetarian-friendly’ as if every public space in this country hasn’t been designed to suit their bigotry for decades”, writes award-winning reporter Aathira Konikkara on Instagram.

“Completely natural progression in a country where people won’t share a house or even a lunch table in office with meat-eaters,” she said.

And elaborating on the same, another tweet read, “Vegetarian-friendly train? We all know Indian families often bring their home-made-food in train travel. Now with this ‘sattvik certificate’, lynch mobs get a license to search your food on trains and harass you.”

Concerned over the increasing exclusive tendency in public spaces, Alok Singh asks, “Is there is categorization of public space on basis of food choice?”

Activist Nitin Seshdari’s tweet reads: “You remember the “separate but equal” argument of the Afrikaaners to justify Apartheid? Separate train for the whites. Separate train for the blacks. One for the coloreds. The new Vegetarian Taliban need to be nipped in the bud.”

Questioning the government’s intrusion into one’s diet, Pralhad Wardhan tweeted, “can railway ministry justify it’s decision to serve only vegetarian food in Delhi Katra train? Don’t you deprive passengers (sic) of their diet?

Sharing the same concern, Panch Mukesh tweeted: “So Non veg food will not be available on these trains anymore? PS: I’m vegetarian I’m concerned about others.”