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How media created fake controversy about BJP calling for a ‘ban on Momos’

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Hemant Bijapurkar
Contributor at OpIndia.com, Wish to write a great trilogy someday!

News had broken in various media outlets yesterday about BJP legislator Ramesh Arora of Jammu and Kashmir calling for a ban on Momos due to the health hazards associated with them. Arora has reportedly been demanding a ban on Momos in J&K for about 5 months.

A section of journalists soon latched on to the news reports and proclaimed this demand to be in line with their accusation that the BJP wishes to regulate the food habits of Indians.

A couple of them also attributed the demand of a single BJP legislator as the view of the whole party:

A few media outlets too decided to go hyperbolic and wrote reports titled:

The poison is not in the Momo but BJP’s food politics

Going by the reactions it looked as if the BJP legislator Ramesh Arora had some personal grudge against the Chinese, and thus ‘their food’, and had based his demand on some loony logic. But by just reading the whole article, people would have come to know that the legislator’s demands were backed via a strong scientific logic.

As it turn out, the BJP legislator has since long been a strong advocate against all Chinese food available on Indian streets which use the unhealthy mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) or Ajinomoto as an ingredient. According to the legislator, the MSG’s regular consumption was known to cause serious diseases including cancer and was deadlier than psychotropic drugs.

The news report also cemented Arora’s claims by stating that the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Cancer Institute in a 2007 study had concluded that MSG caused cancer and the WHO too had declared it unsafe. The report also had made it clear that Arora was not against Chinese food and was all in favor of their consumption, provided they were cooked safely.

Even though the BJP was being ridiculed for wanting a ‘ban’, the critics had failed to mention that the Congress too had called for a ban on Chinese street food containing MSG in 2015 and had pressurized the Mumbai Municipal Corporation to ban the sale of Chinese food outside Mumbai schools.

According to distinguished scientist Anand Ranganathan who brought the whole episode to outraging people’s attention, the ban on MSG containing Chinese food won’t be logical as the Indian Food and Drug Administration has not yet banned MSG but all the food items which make use of this ingredient should have a disclosure regarding them using this ingredient.

He also commented on how even though the FDA hadn’t yet banned the ingredient, the Congress still got Chinese food banned in Mumbai using its pretext.

On a lighter and healthier note, amidst this all outrage created by a headline-and-BJP-hunting media, one guy summed up the media reporting:

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Hemant Bijapurkar
Contributor at OpIndia.com, Wish to write a great trilogy someday!

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