Asking Muslim vendors or businesses to conduct business under their own name indicates their religious identity and this will be the latest tool to aid the economic boycott of the Muslim community. The Indian right wing has always been fiercely inventive on how to find new ways of pushing the Muslim community towards economic marginalisation, to make their financial situation worse. While calling for economic boycott on mics while delivering hate speech has been pretty common, instances of people taking oath of only buying from Hindus, to name their businesses by Hindu names so they are easy to recognise, banning non-Hindu traders/vendors from temple fairs/religious events are some of them.
Bajrang Dal members roaming the streets of Delhi have now been caught threatening a fresh fruit juice seller; this can be seen in a video posted today. They found that the person making and selling the juice belonged to the Muslim community but the name of the shop was “Raju Juice Centre”. They called upon the owner of the shop and this is how the conversation goes:
BD: You must be the owner and have given the space on rent (to him). Then why have you not kept his name as the shop’s name
Owner: Shop is mine so the name is Raju
BD: But he is receiving the proceeds of the sales
Owner: I/you can name the shop anything. What’s the problem in that?
BD: No, no
Owner: Ok I will change it
BD: Let him keep his name whoever is the tenant. Don’t keep a Hindu name. It confuses people. They do ‘Thook Jihad’ (Spitting). We got another shop’s name also changed. If a Muslim is selling juice then his name should be on the shop.
Owner: OK I will change it but I would rather ask him to vacate
BD: You either vacate it or get the name changed, it’s up to you
Owner: if I ask him to vacate (for this reason) I would be taking his livelihood away
BD: Then give it on rent to a Hindu. There are videos everywhere they spit in food, urinate etc. We don’t know what kind of medicines of impotency he is mixing, we don’t know. If someone is Muslim they will buy from him if he keeps it in his own name
Owner: There are thousands of shops, you don’t know by whose name they are
BD: We are going around checking that (and making people change names)
The video of the conversation may be viewed here:
Location: Najafgarh, Delhi
Bajrang Dal members harass a Muslim juice seller for naming his shop “Raju Juice Corner.” They further accused him of “Thook (Spit) Jihad—a conspiracy theory.” pic.twitter.com/NW5oizRolJ
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) May 16, 2023
This is the latest manifestation of organised hate that has political sanction from the very top. Elected officials of state and central governments rarely speak up against this, nor take steps to guard the right to do business, equality and non-discrimination. That is where India stands today.