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'People Scared To Come After Cleric's Remarks': Ajmer Dargah Vendors Face Losses

A vendor near the shrine reported seeing an estimated loss of Rs 50 crore due to the cleric's statements.

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Local vendors around the Ajmer Sharif Dargah in Rajasthan said on Sunday, 10 July that their businesses have taken a hit after footfall at the Dargah plummeted due to the "provocative statements made by clerics," news agency ANI reported.

Salman Chishti, a cleric at the Sufi shrine, was arrested on 5 July after he allegedly called for the beheading of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her remarks against Prophet Muhammad.

Meanwhile, Haji Syed Salman Chishty, the chairman of Chishty Foundation and Gaddi Nashin-Dargah Ajmer Sharif, denounced the statements made by the cleric, saying that they are "anti-Islamic" and "anti-humanity."

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'Loss of Rs 50 Crore Estimated': Local Vendor

Speaking to news agency ANI on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, Dinesh Kumar Soni, a local vendor said, "Earlier our sales were much higher than they are right now. All salesman here are facing recession of a kind. People are not coming out as they are scared."

Another local vendor said that they have witnessed an estimated loss of Rs 50 crore due to the cleric's statements. Stating that all shop owners are out of business, he said, "Forget about private vehicles, even buses are arriving here empty."

Meanwhile, a hotel owner in the area said that the Udaipur murder and the remarks of the cleric have together led to a "complete loss of sales."

"Our sales were good last year. But following the Udaipur murder and the issues that ensued, we have been witnessing a complete loss of business. All our rooms are vacant. Those who had made advance booking of rooms too have cancelled now," he added.

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Ajmer Sharif Dargah Denounces Cleric's Remarks

Calling the remarks allegedly made by Salman Chishti as "un-Islamic, anti-Islamic, and anti-society," Ajmer Sharif Dargah's Haji Syed Salman Chishty denounced them.

"We completely denounce the slogans which are anti-Islamic and anti-humanity. They are the real culprits who are bringing these slogans of violence, death and destruction," Chishty said, as per news agency ANI.

"To hear such slogans which aren't attached to Dargah Ajmer Sharif and some individuals who have raised these slogans – we denounce and boycott them completely. World should know that this has nothing to do with Ajmer Dargah Sharif or community of Ghareeb Nawaz," he added.

Further, urging the concerned authority to take cognisance of individuals who make such statements, he said that "exemplary punishment" should be accorded to them. "This is an issue of radical ideology which has been creeping up," he said.

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What Did the Cleric Say?

In a purported video, the cleric had said that he would give his house to anyone who brings Sharma's head to him. He was further heard saying that he would have shot her dead for insulting Prophet Muhammad.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan Police's vigilance unit has been instructed to probe a viral video, in which Ajmer DSP Sandeep Saraswat was allegedly heard 'tutoring' Ajmer Dargah cleric Salman Chishti.

The video surfaced after four people were arrested in connection with another allegedly provocative speech delivered at the main gate of the Ajmer Dargah on 17 June.

(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)

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