Mathura: A ‘popular’ dosa stall in Mathura’s Vikas Market has changed its name from ‘Shrinath Dosa’ to ‘American Dosa Corner’ after it was vandalised by multiple “Hindutva groups” over the objection that a Muslim family was running the eatery named after Hindu gods.
The 18-August incident came to light after a video went viral on social media this week, in which the mob outside the eatery could be heard saying: “Krishna bhakton ab yudh karo, Mathura ko bhi shudh karo” (Krishna devotees go to battle and purify Mathura).
A Muslim Dosa vendor was attacked by a mob of right wing viglantes in Vikas Bazar, Mathura. The shop was vandalized by the mob and the man was threatened with FIR for waging "Economic Jihad." The mob was chanting, "Krishna Bhakton ab yudh karo, Mathura ko bhi Shudh karo." pic.twitter.com/F7IYpqDI3O
— Alishan Jafri | अलीशान (@asfreeasjafri) August 27, 2021
Irfan, one of the stall owners, filed an FIR against anonymous persons under sections 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code at Kotwali Police Station Saturday, 10 days after the incident.
According to police sources, their investigation so far shows that Pawan Yadav, a competitor of the dosa stall who recently started an eatery with the same name (Shrinathji South Indian Dosa Corner) in Vikas Market, informed Hindutva groups about Irfan’s stall as he was miffed with its popularity.
“The dosa stall run by the Muslim man is more popular. His dosa was apparently cheaper than the Hindu stall as well. Though we are still investigating, for now it seems like Yadav was the one to inform Hindutva groups, and wanted to get rid of his competitor,” said a local UP Police officer who didn’t wish to be named.
Aved, one of Irfan’s three brothers, and could be seen in the viral video, also blamed Yadav for the incident.
“My brothers and I have been running this stall for five years without any problem, but for the past two and a half months there has been trouble. And it’s because of the new dosa thela,” he told ThePrint.
However, Yadav laughed off these allegations as he spoke to ThePrint Saturday. He said he had no clue about any incident of vandalism to the Muslim man’s dosa stall. The two stalls stand 25 metres from each other.
Kotwali Police Station SHO Suraj Prakash Sharma said the police is currently investigating the case and will take necessary action once perpetrators are identified. “We have pulled CCTV footage from the area and are trying to identify people involved in the viral video. We will update you as soon as we find more,” he told ThePrint.
The Mathura Police also posted a video statement on Twitter by DSP Varun Kumar Singh. “Offensive words were used by a group of anonymous persons at Srinath Dosa Corner in Vikas market. The police is currently gathering information on the anonymous persons and questioning the owners of and workers at the stall,” he said.
थाना कोतवाली क्षेत्रान्तर्गत विकास मार्केट में श्रीनाथ डोसा कार्नर के नामकरण को लेकर कुछ अज्ञात व्यक्तियो द्वारा आपत्तिजनक शब्दो का प्रयोग करने के सम्बन्ध में क्षेत्राधिकारी नगर द्वारा दी गयी बाइट। pic.twitter.com/aRzzHZnip0
— MATHURA POLICE (@mathurapolice) August 27, 2021
Hindu group terms it ‘economic jihad’
Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP), a breakaway faction of the Vishva Hindu Parishad that was founded in 2017, claimed responsibility for the vandalism, alleging that the Muslims were indulging in “economic jihad”.
“A Hindu bhai’s business was suffering because another stall of the same name was snatching business from him. This is the classic ‘economic jihad’. And we won’t tolerate it anymore,” AHP’s Mathura city president Shrikant Sharma told ThePrint.
Sharma, who was among those present on the day of the incident, said Hindutva activist Rajesh Mani Tripathi and several other Hindutva groups were present during the incident too.
However, there is no clarity on the ownership of the stall yet.
Irfan’s FIR said that the stall was sold a couple of months ago to a man named Rahul Thakur, who pays the Muslim brothers Rs 400 per day to run the stall.
“We acquired the stall five years ago, but sold it to Rahul Thakur two and a half months ago because we were facing issues,” Irfan told ThePrint.
The police hasn’t been able to ascertain the whereabouts of Thakur. ThePrint was unable to track him either.
‘Stop appropriation or do ghar wapsi’
Rajesh Mani Tripathi, a Hindutva activist and former member of Hindu Samaj Party who was among the mob that vandalised the stall, had a different story to tell.
According to him, he was the one who asked the Muslim man to change the name of the stall because his religious sentiments were hurt and he felt he was deliberately “misled” as the Muslims had appropriated the name of Hindu gods.
“I was in Mathura on 18 August to overlook some preparations for Janmashtami at Krishna Janam Bhoomi. I thought of grabbing a bite and went to eat at Shri Nath Dosa stall in Vikas Market. While eating I heard one of the owners call another worker there by a Muslim name. Then I further enquired and found out, to my shock, that this was a stall run by Muslims,” he told ThePrint over phone.
Tripathi said he is still reeling under the “shock” of having eaten in a Muslim’s utensils. “This isn’t untouchability or discrimination. Who knows what they cook! It’s simply a religious choice I make. Am I not allowed to do that? Muslims don’t buy non-Halal meat, and I choose not to buy from Muslims. Must I be targeted for my religious sentiments because I’m a Hindu?” he said.
Aved said his intention wasn’t to mislead anyone. “This is Mathura, Krishnanagri. Krishna is our identity. Look around you, every stall is named after Krishna. When I acquired this stall from the owner five years ago, it was called Shri Nath stall, and I saw no problem in continuing with that name,” he told ThePrint.
Shrikant Sharma said AHP will continue to take such action, but won’t do anything outside the purview of law. “We will follow the due course of law and keep the police and administration informed of our actions. Muslims have to stop appropriating our gods and run businesses in their names. We’ll ensure that happens across Mathura,” he said.
Sharma also urged Muslims to do “ghar vapsi” instead of “stealing Hindu gods”. “You want to run businesses in our god’s name? By all means. But do ghar vapsi first. Then we will even buy you a shop to do business from,” he said.