Madhya Pradesh: Muslim shopkeepers in Madhya Pradesh’s Dewas have been violently threatened on camera for stocking and selling firecrackers named after Hindu gods.
Videos going viral show gangs of men – some of whom have saffron-coloured scarves wrapped around their necks – barging into shops and warning the owners of dire consequences if they continue selling such products. In another video going viral, the saffron clad men are seen threatening that the shops will be set on fire if seen selling crackers again.
Two men can be heard warning a Muslim shopkeeper saying: “If even one Lakshmi bomb or Ganesh bomb is sold from this shop, we will be forced to do things you won’t like”.
The owner of the shop, visibly scared by the threats repeatedly promises to do as he is told, uttering “Please don’t be angry… please.”
One man can be heard referring to the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad by a French publication, which has triggered controversy worldwide. “One cartoon is made and so much fuss happens. We are also not immune (to disrespecting religious faith). During NRC protests Muslim shops were forced to shut . This is the truth. If you are against the nation, we are against you,” he says.
The shopkeeper mumbles: “No, no, nothing like that”.
The shopkeeper can be heard explaining, as are others in similar videos, that they neither make the products or decide on the packaging, but their comments are overruled.
Digvijaya Singh, general secretary of Congress party demanded that the district administration take action against those who threatened innocent shopkeepers. Dewas Collector Chandramauli Shukla later said inquiries are underway.
“It has been brought to my notice that some people went to shops and threatened shopkeepers. I have asked police to investigate. The investigation will be in accordance with guidelines,” he said.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had on Wednesday said: “The sale of firecrackers with images of deities or gods will be banned and strict legal action would be taken against violators.
Firecrackers have been banned, temporarily, in a few states and national capital Delhi this year, as part of efforts to control air pollution and minimise the spread of the coronavirus.