Delhi’s ‘Mahabelly’ food packets cause legal trouble

New Delhi, Nov 16 : Mahabelly, a popular south Indian eatery based in New Delhi, is now being accused of hurting religious sentiments by allegedly using pictures of Hindu gods and goddesses on its food packets, which has now attracted a legal notice.

P.K.D. Nambiar, an entrepreneur, has sent a legal notice to Thomas Fenn and Zachariah Jacob, owners of the restaurant in Saket’s Mandir Marg for this.

Nambiar has alleged that he alerted the restaurant management that the picture of Theyyam, whom devotees in Kerala consider as a god, was used to cover the food packet and it hurt the sentiments of the believers. He claimed to have asked the management of the restaurant to remove the picture from the food packets, but to no avail.

The legal notice read, “The lucky ones who are chosen to perform Theyyam are required to lead an austere life — devoid of meat, alcohol or other vices — in preparation for the ritual. How ironic is it then that you reduce the images of such a divine practice to merely add value to packaging material for food (veg or non-veg) and beverages! Sanatana Dharma lives through the practice of such rich and diverse native traditions, which generations after generations have continued to hold dear.”

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The notice claims that fundamental rights of the the client and many other people following the religious practice and belief of Theyyam enshrined under the provision of Article 25 & 26 of the Constitution of India are being violated by Mahabelly.

Nambiar, who hails from Kerala’s Kannur district, insisted that the restaurant management “argued” that Theyyam is an art form and they have a right to use the picture on the food packets.

Nambiar said he was “compelled” to approach the court and before that he sent a legal notice through advocate J.K. Sharma. He said, many people in north Kerala and Karnataka worship Theyyam and their religious sentiments are attached to it. He also claimed to have the support of ‘many Hindu organisations in Delhi and Kerala’ on the issue.

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Theyyam is a popular ritual form of worship in Kerala and Karnataka, which consists of old traditions and customs. The performers of Theyyam belong to the lower caste community in the ancient caste structure formed by Namboothiri brahmins in Kerala.

“The people of these districts consider Theyyam as a channel to god and they thus seek blessings from Theyyam. It is performed mainly by males, except the Devakoothu theyyam. The Devakoothu is the only Theyyam ritual performed by women. It is performed only in the Thekkumbad Kulom temple,” Nambiar said.

Calls and text messages to Zachariah Jacob went unanswered.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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