Uttarakhand: Muslim vendor harassed for naming shop ‘Lakshmi’

In response, the vendor said that the shop did not belong to him and he had rented it from a Hindu owner

A Muslim fruit vendor in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, was recently harassed by members of a right-wing group, led by its leader, Radha Semwal Dhoni, for naming his shop ‘Lakshmi’.

The incident took place on Thursday, April 25, at Dharampur Chowk, where the group created a ruckus outside the shop.

A video of the incident is doing rounds on social media platforms, showing the vendor being heckled by a group of right-wing men. A female voice can be heard in the background, asking questions to the distraught fruit seller about the banner reading ‘Lakshmi’.

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In the video, right-wing Hindu members are seen forcibly removing the banner from the shop and telling the Muslim shopkeeper not to display Hindu names again.

Apne naam bure lagte hai kya jo Hindu ka naam rakha hai. (Do you dislike your name that you have kept a Hindu name,” the vendor is asked.

She then went on to add, “Hindu ke devi, devtao aur bagwan ke naam se rozi roti chal rahi hai tumahri. Apne Allah peh barsa nahi hai tumhe toh hamare dharam main aja phir (You are getting your livelihood in the name of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. If you don’t trust your Allah, then come to our religion)”.

However, in response, the Muslim fruit seller said that the shop did not belong to him. He had rented it from a Hindu owner.

Earlier incidents

This incident is not an isolated one, as Muslim vendors across India have been facing discrimination and harassment for years.

In 2020, activists condemned the discrimination against Muslim vendors, who were being stopped from selling fruits and vegetables in some non-Muslim localities in many states.

Similarly, Kashmiri dry fruit vendors in Lucknow were harassed and humiliated, with many facing an uncertain future.

In another incident in 2023, three Muslim fruit sellers in Telangana were thrashed and allegedly forced to drink alcohol by a group of miscreants

The harassment and discrimination faced by Muslim vendors not only affect their livelihoods but also create a climate of fear and uncertainty for the entire community.

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