Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Will non-veg make inmates violent, HC questions state

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has asked the state to explain its decision not to permit cooking of non-vegetarian food in prison kitchens and questioned the "logic" behind it. Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice R G Ketkar were hearing a petition filed by inmates of Arthur Road prison challenging the closure of canteens in prisons. The court at an earlier hearing had asked the prison authorities to consider the plea of prisoners to be served non-vegetarian food items.

Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol said a decision is yet to be taken on the plea and prison authorities are seeking information from jails in seven states. Pol added that cooking can't be allowed in canteens as the rule permits cooking only in the kitchen. "(The state) cannot take chances with security," he added. To this, Justice Desai said, "We don't expect you to compromise on security, but you must also be reasonable."

Pol said cooking cannot be allowed, as per a rule, in any part of the prison premises except the kitchen.

"Why not prepare non-vegetarian food in your regular kitchens," Desai asked the state. The judges also pointed out that the rule does not disallow cooking of non-vegetarian food. Pol then added that it had been a practice not to cook non-vegetarian food.

"What is the logic behind this? There must be some scientific reason. Will prisoners become more violent if they have non-vegatarian food?" said Justice Desai, amused.

The judges noted in their order that Pol "is unable to point out any rule that prohibits non-vegetarian food being cooked in prison kitchens." They directed prison authorities to explain their decision. Advocates for the petitioners AMZ Ansari and Farhana Shah said that non-vegetarian food is served only on four days in a year, and is unavailable otherwise even if prisoners are willing to purchase it with the money earned by them. Pol countered that non-vegetarian food is served on nine festival days in a year.

"We'd like the state to strike a balance. Perhaps if a balance is struck, the prison administration may be able to secure peace in the prisons,'' said Justice Desai.

Ansari and Shah also informed the court that the state was not providing fruits, dates etc. to Muslim prisoners during Ramzan. Pol countered that fasting prisoners are provided fruits and sheer-khurma (vermicelli pudding). The judges directed the state to file an affidavit substantiating its claim. "You (prisoner) must realise you are in prison or some will prefer to live there for rest of life,'' said Justice Desai, on a parting note.

The matter has been adjourned for two weeks.

My take

Armando D'Elia, a naturalist, chemist and expert in vegetarian dietetics states that meat eating leads to aggression and violence. Meat proteins reduces tryptophane levels in the brain leading to aggression, anxiety and a tendency to fight.  An example pointing in this direction is that of the warriors. They consumed large amount of meat between battles which developed their aggression.  Well-known words of the philosopher, Jacopo Moleschott, which confirms meat's aggressive influence: "As long as the Irishman is fed with potatoes, he will be subjugated by the Englishman eating steak and roast beef."

 “The blood supply to the brain carries with it the meat catabolites, the brain's physiology is affected, and in the behaviour we will note - I repeat - intolerance, the tendency to quarrelsomeness and aggression: hatred instead of love; separation, antisocial behaviour and violence instead of conviviality and togetherness. In this way humans get stuck in antisocial attitudes and fierce individualism, and those who want power need only divide and rule. 

Those in power know how to use the weapon of food to influence human behaviour towards what is most convenient for their purposes, and so they do all they can to encourage us to eat dead, poisoned, intoxicating foods, especially meat. Ultimately the target is the brain, which they want to render incapable of understanding. In conclusion, while vegetarianism favours the highest cognitive faculties, carcasses depress them, encouraging behaviours damaging to the individual and society, and reduce serotonin levels.” Armando D'Elia.

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