A Muslim vendor’s food cart was vandalized and his piggy bank looted by Hindutva goons in Uttar Pradesh’s Sardhana on Sunday. The vandalism stemmed from allegations of meat biryani being sold during Hindu festivals.
Sajid, who has been running his business from the cart for more than three years, had received oral instructions the day before from the police not to sell biryani from the next day, which he complied with and served biryani from soy instead.
On Sunday, a group of people gathered around Sajid’s cart, alleging he was selling mutton, and despite his protests overturned his cart, ruining the food and looting more than 15,000 rupees.
The Hindutva team has raised their objections to the sale of meat during the Hindu festival of Navratri.
“It was a normal working day for me. Some people came and asked what food I was selling. I told them it was soy biryani. They kept saying I was selling “non vegetarian” which was against the rule. By the time I realized it, my entire stand had been knocked down. They abused us again and again,” The Indian Express quoted Sajid, 21, recounting his ordeal.
In videos that have surfaced on Twitter, large numbers of people can be seen gathered around the cart, in support of Sajid. In the little food that remains in a container, pieces of soy float, while the police try to calm the tense atmosphere.
The group led by Sachin Khatik, the head of state of Sangeet Som Sena linked to former BJP lawmaker Sangeet Som, was arrested by Sardhana police, attempting to disturb the communal peace by vandalizing the food vendor’s cart . However, no arrests have been made so far.
On Wednesday, videos from Sardhana surfaced where Khatik, surrounded by a group of people, is seen marching through the streets chanting slogans of Jai Shree Ram and Vande Mataram. He even shouts slogans inciting violence against those who do not buy into the mob mentality.
in another video, a policeman tries to dissolve the case and tries to calm an angry Khatik, who claims that meat is sold in shops, on the first day of Navratri and he will not let go of people who try to “corrupt” their religion.
“I am more religious than you. Please calm down. Understand the situation,” the manager said.
At the end of one of the videos, the policeman remarks that he “is enough on his own” to teach them a lesson. To make matters worse, at the end of the video, he inflicted a notorious Hindi abuse on the Muslim vendors in question.
Communal tensions are on the rise in the country with Hindutva outfits objecting to the sale of meat in restaurants and shops during Hindu festivals where people refrain from eating meat for a period of 9 days.
In Karnataka, Muslim meat shops have been targeted for selling halal meat as Hindutva thugs beat up shop owners and butchers who fail to supply non-halal/jhatka meat.
In Delhi, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation has banned meat shops from running business citing “hygiene” concerns. This is the first time the civic body has called for the closure of butcher shops under its jurisdiction during Navratri, which is observed from April 2-11.