Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma
With inputs from: Iqbal in Bulandshahr
For a poor shopkeeper in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr, Nasir, the bone of contention that led to him spending two days in police custody and public humiliation in the local market were shoes with ‘Thakur’ written on the soles.
“Had I known that selling those shoes would create such a big problem, I would never have sold them.”Nasir, Shoeseller
‘Thakur’ is a title associated with dominant caste groups among Hindus. A local Bajrang Dal leader had filed an FIR against Nasir in Gulaothi police station for selling shoes with ‘Thakur’ written underneath them on the soles.
Although police dropped a serious charge of ‘inciting riot’ from the FIR on Wednesday, they had detained Nasir for two days.
“I bought those shoes from a supplier in Ghaziabad, Sanjay Goyal. I started this work since the past 25-30 days. During investigation, police took me there and recovered 16 pairs of similar shoes with ‘Thakur’ brand. But they let them go and kept me in custody for two days.”Nasir, Shoeseller
Nasir added, “When police took me into custody, they did not misbehave with me. But when they were taking me to Ghaziabad (to the suppliers), they slapped me once or twice.”
Bulandshahr SP City, Atul Shrivastav, said, “A person named Vishal Chauhan had registered a case in Gulaothi police station, saying a shoe with 'Thakur' written on the sole was being sold in the market which, he said, hurt his religious sentiments. His complaint said that when he confronted the shoe seller, the latter misbehaved with him.”
He added, “On that basis, a case under Section 153A, 323 and 504 of IPC was registered. During the investigation, it was found that the charge under Section 153 A was false. The other two charges are under investigation. We will proceed as per what is found in the probe.”
Gulaothi police told The Quint that no case on any other person has been registered in the matter.
Nasir’s uncle, Mohammed, said:
“They detained a poor labourer for two days... he was unable to make any sales on those days. Even today, the weather is bad. What should a poor labourer do? I just want the case against him to be dropped completely.”
What Had Happened?
Vishal Chauhan, a local Bajrang Dal leader, told The Quint, “I was informed by one of our karyakartas that a Muslim shopkeeper Nasir was selling shoes with ‘thakur’ written underneath it in the local market of Gulaothi. When I went there to check, he showed us the shoes. We took him to the police station.”
He had initially filed an FIR with sections 153A (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 323 (for voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) of the IPC.
A video accessed by The Quint shows Nasir asking a group of men, “Am I the manufacturer of these shoes?” Another man, who cannot be seen, is heard replying, “Then why are you selling them here?”
It is not clear which company manufactured the shoes with ‘thakur’ written on its sole. A shoe manufacturing company called the Thakur Footwear Company, based in Agra, was being named by social media users. But the owner of the company, Narender Trilokani, told The Quint, “We are a 40-year-old company. Our logo is TFC, we don’t use ‘thakur’ as our logo. So the shopkeeper in Bulandshahr was not selling shoes from our brand.”
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