The food cart of a Muslim vendor was vandalized and his money box looted by Hindutva goons in Uttar Pradesh’s Sardhana on Sunday. The vandalism was born out of allegations of selling meat based biryani during Hindu festivals.
Sajid who has been running his business from the cart for over three years had received oral instructions from police officials, a day before, to not sell biryani from the next day, which he complied with and served soya biryani instead.
On Sunday, a group of people gathered around Sajid’s cart, alleging that he was selling mutton, and despite his protests, overturned his cart, ruining the food and looted cash of over Rupees 15000.
The Hindutva outfit has been vocal about its objections over meat being sold during the Hindu festival of Navratri.
“It was a regular day of business for me. Some people came and they asked what food I was selling. I told them its soya biryani. They kept saying I was selling “non-veg” which was against the rule. By the time I realised, my entire stall had been flipped. They were abusing us again and again,” The Indian Express quoted Sajid, 21, narrating his ordeal.
In videos that surfaced on Twitter, a large number of people can be seen gathered around the cart, in support of Sajid. In the little food leftover in a vessel, chunks of soya bean float around, as the police attempt to calm the tense atmosphere.
The group led by Sachin Khatik, the state chief of Sangeet Som Sena linked to former BJP legislator Sangeet Som, has been booked by the Sardhana police, attempting to disturb communal peace by vandalising the cart of the food vendor. However, no arrests have been made so far.
On Wednesday, videos from Sardhana surfaced where Khatik, surrounded by a group of people, is seen walking through the streets chanting slogans of Jai Shree Ram and Vande Mataram. He even shouts slogans inciting violence against those who do not adhere to the mentality of the mob.
in another video, a police officer attempts to dissolve the matter and struggles to calm a riled-up Khatik, who claims that meat is being 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,” says the official.
By the end of one of the videos, the police officer remarks that he “alone is enough” to teach them a lesson. To make matters worse, at the end of the video, he levied a well-known Hindi abuse against the Muslim vendors in question.
Communal tensions are on the rise in the country with Hindutva outfits objecting to meat sold 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 goons beat up shop owners and butchers who do not provide non-Halal/ jhatka meat.
In Delhi, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation has barred meat shops from running business citing “hygiene” issues. This is the first time when the civic body has asked for closure of meat shops under its jurisdiction during Navratri which is being observed from April 2-11.