Food ordering app Zomato is in the focus again after a few hundred delivery executives of the company in North Howrah objected to delivering beef or pork to customers, saying that it harms their religious sentiments.
A large number of delivery executives went on an indefinite strike Monday onwards in Kolkata, protesting against the Swiggy-rival for rights to refuse to carry food orders containing beef or pork and demanding a pay revision.
On this regard, the company issued a statement that it is trying to resolve the issue at the earliest. A company spokesperson said in a statement, "There is a small group of partners in Howrah who have raised concerns, and we are looking to resolve the issue as quickly as possible."
"In a country as diverse as India, it is impossible to ensure that vegetarian and non-vegetarian preferences are factored into delivery logistics," the statement said."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."
On the other hand, Arup Roy and Rajib Banerjee, TMC ministers from Howrah, have come out strongly in support of the protesters. On Sunday, Minister for Irrigation in West Bengal government, Rajib Banerjee had said, "The organisation should not force any person to go against their religion. It is wrong. Now that I have received information in this regard, I will look into it the matter."
Amid slogans "Zomato ki dadagiri nahi chalegi", protesters have also tried dissuading their colleagues from Kolkata and south Howrah from picking up delivery orders to north Howrah. "We are forced to deliver such things. The company has also rolled back our payout," quoted one protester to ANI, adding that nearly 200 delivery partner executives in north Howrah were participating in the protests.
Employees of the food delivery app said while the Hindu agents were uncomfortable in handling food that included beef, Muslim riders were also against delivering food that contained pork. This is not the first time Zomato has been landed in controversy.
A week back, Zomato courted controversy after a Jabalpur-based customer declined to receive an order, which was being delivered by a non-Hindu rider. The company had supported its employees then, quoting, "Food doesn't have a religion. Food is religion."
Edited by Rupa Burman Roy