Trustee’s protest takes form of hunger strike as he claims drastic measures needed to press for elections by year end
A combative Noshir Dadrawala (centre) on hunger strike outside the Punchayet office. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Noshir Dadrawala, the man of the moment, on a hunger strike outside the Bombay Parsi Punchayet (BPP) office at Fort, all through Monday to protest the delaying of BPP elections, said, “desperate times call for desperate measures.” A hunger protest by a trustee is a first in 300 plus years of BPP.
Artucle by Hemal Ashar | Mid Day
Dadrawala started his hunger strike at 10 am on Monday, “as a final recourse to set right the working of the BPP Board, which has been in violation of all ethical and legal directives for a year now,” he said.
Dadrawala added, “Elections have been repeatedly postponed by some of the BPP trustees on the Board claiming a ‘majority’ on one pretext or the other. First it was that we have senior citizens and they cannot be called outside to vote in these COVID times. Then, there was the lockdown, which was understandable at the time. Then when the lockdown was lifted, it was said that everybody should be vaccinated and then we can have elections. Now, the pretext is that it is expensive to hold elections. All crucial decisions are made by the collective board of BPP’s seven trustees, who are elected democratically every seven years. For over a year now, there have been two vacancies on the Board, which have not been filled, with elections constantly being postponed, on various pretexts, some of which I have stated above, by trustee Viraf Mehta and chairperson Armaity Tirandaz.” Dadrawala stated emphatically, “It is very simple. I have a one-point mandate, declare the date and programme of elections for the two vacant seats and have a full Board of seven trustees by the beginning of January 2022.”
Dadrawala claimed that a lot of “detractors and losers” had prophesied that, “by Monday afternoon I will be put on a drip and the so-called ‘’drama’ that is my hunger strike will be over. But to all those concerned about my health I am fighting fit. Standing for what is right is amazingly nourishing and keeps the body alive and energised. I, in fact want to send get well soon greetings to the losers and my detractors,” finished the self-proclaimed ‘foodie.’ Dadrawala had said earlier, “I love food, doesn’t it show? Yet, my love for justice is greater.”
Kersi Randheria, BPP trustee supporting Dadrawala, had slammed the “callousness” of the trustees over the weekend who had, he stated, “not bothered to contact Dadrawala knowing that he was going to go on a fast.”
Viraf Mehta trustee and chairperson Armaity Tirandaz said they had met Dadrawala on Monday afternoon and explained, “we said we must sort out the matter with a mature discussion. A hunger strike is not a mature response. There is a Board meeting on Tuesday [today] evening where this should come up for discussion and we can tell you more then.”
Dinshaw Mehta, former BPP chairman was much more fiery. He slammed Noshir Dadrawala’s hunger strike as “draamebaazi.” Mehta added, “These are COVID times. Each election costs the BPP approximately ’50 lakh, that has to be considered. Dadrawala had claimed that he wanted to discuss the matter with the trustees on Tuesday, so going on hunger strike on Monday is premature. We have options like discussion and there is the legal route too, which an individual can move.
When Dinshaw Mehta was told that Dadrawala claimed this was not drama, he shot back, “If this is not drama then what is it?” Dadrawala hit back saying, “I Laughed Out Loud (LOL) when I first read that I would be put on a drip, and several hours later I am Rolling on the Floor Laughing (ROFL),” he finished, proving that the eat may not, but the heat is certainly on at the august offices of the BPP, the apex body of the community and the city’s second biggest landlord after the Bombay Port Trust (BPT).