ERC probing Rose Hall restaurant selling chicken in paper bags with Hindu symbols
The Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) says it is investigating a Rose Hall, Berbice restaurant which has been selling chicken in paper bags which carry Hindu symbols, including the Om, one of Hinduism’s most sacred symbols.
In a statement, the ERC said it has noted viral video and images which show “meat being served in bags which bears the Hindu symbol ‘Om’ which is contrary to Hindu religious practices.”
The ERC said its investigation will focus on the matter as an “act of religious intolerance and will take the necessary course of action to remedy the situation.”
In a video posted on TikTok, an employee of the restaurant called “Mr Fried Chicken”, said the bags were only being used temporarily.
The ERC called on the restaurant “to discontinue use of the bags with Hindu emblem with immediate effect.”
Apart from the Om, the paper bag also features the Trishul, another important symbol in Hindu worship.
The ERC noted that among its functions, is to “encourage and create respect for religious, cultural and other forms of diversity in a plural society” as outlined in the Article 212D of the Constitution.
The Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha has written to the restaurant and shared that letter to its Facebook page, saying it has become aware of an incident “that has left members of the Hindu community feeling deeply offended and hurt.”
“We have learned that bags often used to distribute ‘prasadam’, a sacred offering in Hinduism, are being used to serve fried chicken by your restaurant.
“This bag bears the sacred Om and Trishul symbols. This action was seen as disrespectful to our religious beliefs.
“Hinduism holds prasadam as a sacred offering to the deities,” the Sabha stated.
The Sabha said it understands that this may have been an unintentional oversight and the restaurant “has no intention of offending or disrespecting any religious group.”
The Sabha therefore called on the restaurant to offer a sincere apology to the Hindu community for any offense caused and sesist immediately from using these bags for any meat or non – vegetarian purpose.
“We are willing to offer educational training to your staff about the importance of respecting various religious customs and sensitivities.
“By taking these steps, you can demonstrate your commitment to respecting the diverse beliefs of your customers and create an environment of inclusivity in your restaurant,” the Sabha stated