More videos of Hindutva mobs, raiding and threatening Muslim Shop owners have emerged, from Dewas in Madhya Pradesh. This time the saffron-scarf wearing Hindutva mobs are larger, and have directly threatened and abused Muslim shop owners with violence and arson if they stock or sell firecrackers named after Hindu gods or goddesses. Fireworks with calendar-style pictures of goddess Lakshmi, have been sold across central and north india, for decades and are burst with great joy by lakhs of Hindus and others celebrating Diwali.
However this year, the Hindutva gang has decided that it is blasphemous to sell these fireworks. They have also decided to go as gangs to raid, and threaten shop owners, specially Muslim shop owners with violent attacks if they sell any fire crackers with packaging the Hindutva groups now dislike. That the shop owners do not have any control over packaging of any goods they sell, is not relevant to the frenzied gang who are looking for an excuse to start a communal argument.
The Hindutva gangs, with most members wearing saffron-gamchas or scarves, barge into shops and warn the owners of dire consequences if they continue selling such products. They film these warnings and get louder if the Muslim shopkeeper tries to reason with them.
In a video, a gang of around half-a-dozen goons, wearing their trademark saffron scarves are seen arguing with an elderly Muslim shopkeeper. The old shopkeeper can hardly be heard and the goons’ arguments and abuses go on uninterrupted. “We will set your shop ablaze if you sell firecrackers with Hindu gods or goddesses images. We worship mata Lakshmi. These then come under our feet,” they say one after another, while the vilest of them abuse and use rape threats.
The shopkeeper can be heard telling them these firecrackers have been sold for years, “we don’t make them,” he said. The enlarged Hindutva goon does not care: “Return the products. You can’t sell them. Your licence will be cancelled. Next time we come if we see even one we will set fire to the place,” the threats continue. A local resident then appoints himself the representative of the Hidutva mob and says he will keep an eye on the shop and “I will put this on whatsapp”.
This happened in Dewas, MP.
A mob of Hindutva people entered into a Muslim’s shop and threatened him for selling firecrackers which had Hindu deity stickers.
Shopkeeper kept saying that he is not manufacturer but goons threatened to burn down his shop. pic.twitter.com/dOKH6IH8i0
— Md Asif Khan (@imMAK02) November 3, 2020
Responding to this tweet Digvijaya Singh demanded that the district administration in Dewas take action against those who threatened the shopkeepers. “For whose picture is on the firecrackers, the responsibility lies on the firecracker maker and not the shopkeeper. Modi ji should remove the ordinance and make it a law not to put pictures of gods of any religion on firecrackers. Dewas district administration should act against those who are threatening innocent shopkeepers.”
पटाखों पर किसका चित्र हो इसकी जवाबदारी पटाखे बनाने वाले पर है ना कि दुकानदार पर। मोदी जी को अध्यादेश निकाल कर पटाखों पर किसी भी धर्म के देवताओं के चित्र नहीं लगाने का क़ानून बना देना चाहिए।
देवास ज़िला प्रशासन को जो निर्दोष दुकानदार को धमका रहे हैं उन पर कार्रवाई करना चाहिए। https://t.co/1R2A7G2Jqk
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) November 4, 2020
According to a news report by NDTV Dewas Collector Chandramauli Shukla said he had seen the videos and that the local police had been informed, “During festivals, especially Diwali, we issue guidelines to all firecracker makers. It has been brought to my notice that some people went to shops and threatened shopkeepers because of this. I have asked the police to investigate. The investigation will be in accordance with guidelines.”
The sale and bursting of all firecrackers have been banned temporarily in a few states and in the national capital Delhi this year, as part of efforts to control air pollution and minimise the spread of the coronavirus. This includes Madhya Pradesh is among 18 states and union territories asked to respond on the issue of firecracker-caused pollution. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said it is considering a wider order prohibiting the use of firecrackers to protect the health of the vulnerable groups. However the Hindutva gangs have taken this as a license to threaten and intimidate Muslim shop keepers if they stock ‘Lakshmi bombs’. Recently actor Akshay Kumar had quickly renamed his forthcoming film ‘Laxmmi Bomb’ to ‘Laxmii’ after Hindutva groups were ‘offended’ and their religious sentiments were hurt.
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) October 29, 2020
The Hindutva goons however continue to threaten Muslim shopkeepers in their neighbourhoods.“We will send decoy customers to you till Diwali,” says a goon in a now viral threat video, “and if even one such Lakshmi bomb, Ganesh bomb, firecracker is found in your shop. We will take action that you will not like. Understood?”