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Tesco’s use of image of Hindu deity on chicken ready meal is ‘shocking’ and ‘offensive’

PUBLISHED: 10:52 14 March 2013 | UPDATED: 11:36 14 March 2013

Varsha Mistry with an image of Lord Ganesh

Varsha Mistry with an image of Lord Ganesh

Archant

The use of a picture of a religious deity on a tandoori chicken ready meal has been described as “shocking” and “offensive”.

A picture of Lord Ganesh, a deity in the Hindu religion, was particularly offensive as the majority of Hindus are vegetarian.

The image was on a Tesco ready meal, and following the complaint from Varsha Mistry, of Ashurst Drive, Barkingside, has been redesigned.

Ms Mistry, 47, who is the deputy chairman of the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association, said: “One of the officers saw the chicken curry and was upset to see they had a picture of Hindu deity Lord Ganesh on the packet.

“It’s completely derogatory so I wrote to Tesco.”

The curry was part of the premium chilled ready meal range by Tesco called City Kitchen.

Ms Mistry said: “It was shocking. I thought there might have been a mistake when it was reported to me so I had to order one online to satisfy myself it was Lord Ganesh and it clearly was. It needed to be stopped as it would have upset a lot of people.”

After she wrote to Tesco, they agreed to change the image but it was still on their website prompting Ms Mistry to write again.

She said: “I think it’s because of a lack of education. These things can happen simply because people don’t know, not because they are trying to cause offence. It’s about raising awareness.”

The majority of Hindus are vegetarian as one of the most important aspects of the religion is not to cause harm to living things through thoughts, word or actions.

Ms Mistry added: “Like many religions it’s about living for the greater good, so a picture of one of our deities on a packet of chicken which has been slaughtered is offensive. I have never seen anything like this before.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We always listen to our customers and in response to some feedback, we have made some changes to the packaging of this product.

“We’re very sorry for any offence caused.


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