Member of legislative assembly, Mangal Prabhat Lodha has written a letter to prime minister, Narendra Modi asking for subsidy for Parsi community to help them visit their “place of origin”.
Lodha has asked Modi to set aside around Rs5 crore so that the Parsis can visit Iran. Lodha in his letter states: “Government of India subsidies other minority communities like Muslims for their yearly visit to Mecca. Similarly, Parsis hope to visit their religious places in Iran, but restrict their travel due to excessive costs associated with their visits. Even if government of India allows 1,000 Parsis to travel on a subsidized trip to Iran, it would cost a mere Rs5 crore per year.”
However, the letter was criticised by community members. Viraf Kapadia, resident of Napean Sea Road called it a political stunt and divisive politics. “We have been asking for reservations in colleges and jobs. They should do something about that. Instead, they want to stop people from other community to go out which is why they are bringing us into this. Will they start sending Christians and Jews too? This step is dividing people in the name of religion. No doubt Iran was the motherland of the religion but we were driven out. India is our motherland and no one wants to go back there. Will Parsis even like that they are not allowed to wear the clothes they want to? The move will only bring in corruption in the community when selection process begins.”
Lodha, however, justified the move. “I do not think there is any other religion that has its origin outside India. Efforts can be made for other things (reservation) too, but, if some people want to look at it as a negative thing, I do not have any comment. I felt it was needed. Arun Jaitely has appreciated my move.”