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Protest Against Lord Ganesha Defamation : Image on Beedi and Beer - Naresh Kadyan

Offbeat  (tags: ethics, government, police, crime )

- 3305 days ago -
Mangalore Ganesh Beedi Works in India misused image of Lord Ganesha like INDICA IPA beer in USA, FIR be lodged against these offenders. Today complaint has been lodged with the Police station, Palwal sadar in Haryana by Kadyan along with Mandheer Maan....

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Naresh Kadyan (1180)
Thursday July 2, 2009, 9:42 am

Beedi firms rejects charge, plans to sue US channel
MYSORE, NOV 26: The US Government's decision to ban Mangalore beedis has left their manufacturers, Mangalore Ganesh Beedi, fuming. Not only has it denied employing child labour to roll beedis, it has also threatened to file a suit against the US-based CBS Television, whose report in its celebrated 60-Minutes programme got them the axe.

At a press conference here on Thursday, company spokesman Ram Priya Das said Mangalore Ganesh Beedi has been manufacturing beedis for five decades and it has never been accused of using child labour. ``Rolling beedis is a semi-skilled job done specifically by adults to get quality rolled beedis,'' he said, adding that the company is abiding by the Supreme Court ban order on employing child labour.

Rejecting the US government's charge, he said there was a 15 per cent fall in demand for beedis. And without a workload, where is the need to employ children, he asked. Presently, the company's beedi exports stand at $ 60,000 per year, he claimed.

Das said the company has notreceived any complaints about its contractors using children to roll beedis, but promised to look into it nevertheless. When told that it was common practice for private companies to use children to roll beedis, he said he wasn't aware of such companies.

Das said, ``One Margaret Ibrahim visited the office introducing herself as a representative of CBS and brought in a camera crew.'' She took shots of the statutory warning printed on the covers of beedi bundles and also visited godowns. But she did not send us the video of the factory shots as she had promised.

Das claimed their US-based agents, Nasara Interntaional Agency, told them that apparently the US Administration is verifying the CBS programme and has taken only a ``temporary measure.'' But Ganesh Beedi, he said, was most worried and offended by the humiliation doled out to India using ``baseless charges''.

Asked whether the company would want the Centre to intervene, Das said the ``public should decide whether India should face such humiliationfrom the USA''. The US Government, he added, ``should have collected detailed information before making out the temporary custom detention order''.

As expected, the Mysore Division Beedi Workers' Union has also condemned the US action and asked the Centre to stop ``advanced countries from linking trade with other issues''.

Naresh Kadyan (1180)
Thursday July 2, 2009, 10:51 am
MUMBAI, September 12: Can the pictures of Lord Ganesha on beedi pouches amount to an insult of the Hindu religion? No, observes Justice S S Parkar of the Bombay High Court who has ruled that Mangalore Ganesh Beedi Works, Mysore, cannot be punished under the Indian Penal Code for commercial use of the deity.

Maulana Ayyub Kadri, a Pune-based social worker filed a criminal complaint against the beedi-manufacturing company. According to Kadri, ``who, though a Muslim, respects other religions,'' the company should be punished under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code due to the commercial use of Lord Ganesh. The case, heard before a magistrate in Pune, was filed not only against the company but also its Pune-based distributor K R Mallya. Mallya approached the High Court for quashing of the lower court proceedings.

Justice Parkar has observed that use of the deity's pictures on the pouches does not constitute an offence because there is no intention to insult a place of worship, neither has the companydamaged/defiled an object of religious worship.

The company has been manufacturing beedis since the year 1932, and their Ganesh trademark was registered since 1942 under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act. As per provisions of the Act, symbols/marks which hurt the religious susceptibilities of any class of citizens cannot be registered as trademarks. Before finalising the trademark, the registrar calls for objections.

Moreover, the Central government is further empowered to direct the registrar not to register a particular trademark. And even after registration is granted, objections can be raised before a tribunal.

Therefore, the judge observed, since the Ganesh trademark is being used for the last six decades without objections, a criminal complaint at this stage cannot be entertained. Moreover, the complainant can approach the registrar under the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, if he still has any grievance.

According to the complainant, the beedi pouches are likely to be thrown on publicstreets, which will then be trampled upon by passersby. However, the judge observed that even if the pouches are thrown on the street, it does not constitute deliberate defilement of the picture of Lord Ganesha.

Earlier in 1987, the same company had been dragged to the Madras High Court. The beedi label was challenged by a Hindu citizen. He stated that an object of reverence should not be allowed as a commercial trademark. But the Madras High Court had also not entertained the objection. Justice Parkar has stated that even if one assumes commercial exploitation of the object of worship, it does not bring the case within the four corners of IPC.
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