A Muslim shopkeeper in western Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr is in police custody after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against him for selling a shoe whose sole had the name ‘Thakur’ – a so-called upper caste – embossed on it.
The shopkeeper, Nasir, was detained by the police after a complaint by Vishal Chauhan, a leader of a right-wing outfit in the area. Nasir faces serious charges like promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion, causing hurt and intentionally insulting someone resulting in breach of public peace. The right-wing leader’s complaint also mentions an unnamed shoe company.
“A case has been filed under relevant sections at the concerned police station. The named accused is in the custody of the police and an investigation is on,” the Bulandshahr police tweeted.
The FIR in the case, accessed by NDTV, says that when the complainant went to Nasir’s roadside shop on Monday, he saw a shoe with the word ‘Thakur’ embossed on its sole. The FIR says that when the complainant objected, Nasir allegedly started abusing and assaulting him.
However, a 58-second-long video from the time of the incident that was shared widely on social media shows a group of men surrounding the shopkeeper. “Am I manufacturing these shoes?” Nasir said. A voice, not in the frame, replied, “Then why have you brought them here?” No assault or abuse can be seen or heard in this video.
Another 36-second-long clip shows policemen outside the shop.
इस प्रकरण में वर्तमान विधि व्यवस्था के अनुसार जो सुसंगत था वह कार्यवाही की है, यदि पुलिस कार्यवाही न करती तो बहुत से लोग उल्टी/भिन्न प्रतिक्रिया देते। अतः पुलिस ने नियम का पालन किया है। कृपया इसे इसी रूप में देखें।
— Bulandshahr Police (@bulandshahrpol) January 5, 2021
In another tweet, the police appeared to concede that if they had not detained the shoe seller, a lot of people would have “reacted badly”.
It is not known which footwear company manufactured the shoes. Sources said it is a prominent company by the same name based out of a city known to be a shoe manufacturing hub. The company has been in operation for 40 years, they said.