Hindus worldwide are upset over Bank of England’s blunt refusal to withdraw £5 polymer banknotes which reportedly contained traces of tallow, despite the serious concerns raised by the Hindu community.
Bank of England (BOE) detailed statement, issued on February 15, said: Bank has concluded that it will not withdraw the current £5 polymer banknotes from circulation and will proceed with plans to withdraw legal tender status of the £5 paper banknotes on 5 May 2017; continue with the proposed launch of the new £10 polymer banknotes in September 2017, using the existing polymer substrate.
It also stated: …it would be appropriate to keep the £5 polymer note in circulation and to issue the £10 polymer note as planned, in September.
Rajan Zed said that it was shocking for the Hindus world over that BOE refused to respect the hurt feelings of the Hindu community and decided to continue with objectionable polymer banknotes.
Most of the large companies world over did extensive consumer research before launching a new product. BOE should have been wise and literate enough to look into the religious sensitivities of its consumers before investing so much money and effort into the production of polymer banknotes, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.
It appeared that Hindus did not matter to BOE in its public sector equality duty, otherwise how it could justify the negative impact the Hindu community faced with this decision of BOE. Moreover, what happened to BOE claim—“Equality, diversity and inclusion are important to the Bank, and essential to the delivery of the Bank’s business strategy,” Rajan Zed asked.
BOE was the one who made this unwise decision of launching polymer banknotes without researching their impact on the society and now BOE was trying to justify their misadventure by saying that it would impose significant financial costs on the Bank to take these out of circulation, Zed indicated.
Rajan Zed urged BOE Court of Directors Chair Anthony Habgood and Governor Mark Carney to reconsider the BOE decision and stop the circulation of £5 polymer note and halt the production of £10 and £20 polymer notes.
Zed also urged United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Theresa May and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to intervene.
The £5 polymer banknote, featuring Sir Winston Churchill, was launched on 13 September 2016. The Bank has also announced that the £10 polymer banknote, featuring Jane Austen, is due to be launched in September 2017 and that the £20 polymer banknote, featuring JMW Turner, is due to be launched by 2020.
Products from tallow (rendered form of beef or mutton fat) were reportedly used in the manufacture of the polymer substrate for the £5 and £10 polymer banknotes.
Consumption of beef is highly conflicting to Hindu beliefs and it is certainly banned from entering Hindu religious centers. Cow, the seat of many deities, is sacred and has long been venerated in Hinduism.
London headquartered BOE, founded in 1694, is the UK’s central bank, whose mission is “to deliver monetary and financial stability for the British people.”