Outrage After UP Police Detains Muslim Vendor in Bulanshahr for Selling ‘Thakur’ Brand Shoes

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Nasir was booked in Gulawathi police station under Sections 153A, 323C and 504 of IPC and was kept in custody for 48 hours since Monday. — Screengrab

The desire to please their masters by harassing poor Muslims whichever way they can, has consumed whatever little that was left of their zameer, says Former IPS officer Dr. N.C Ashthana

Waquar Hasan | Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – Police in Bulandshahr district are facing backlash on social media ever since a police station in the city booked and detained a Muslim vendor for selling shoes of “Thakur” brand.

The roadside vendor Nasir was booked in Gulawathi police station under Sections 153A, 323C and 504 of IPC and was kept in custody for 48 hours since Monday. He was let off after the police found no evidence that he was “promoting disharmony”. The police issued a statement saying that section 153 A (promoting enmity on grounds of religion, caste) was found to be false during investigation in the case.

The police took action against Nasir after some Hindutva activists opposed the selling of Thakur brand shoes and filed a complaint with the police.

Thakur is a common Hindu name and associated with an upper caste. The chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, is a Thakur by caste.

A video clip doing the rounds on social media shows that a group of people confronting Nasir who is seen telling them that it’s not him who has manufactured the shoes.

The shoe is manufactured by Agra-based Thakur Footwear Company which has been in business for over six decades. The company sells shoes with the name ‘Thakur’ embossed on them since its inception. It has an all India market. The shoe and other products of the company are available on multiple online shopping platforms, including Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra, Paytm and Shopclues.

After facing flak from Twitterati, the Bulandshahr Police have come up with a series of explanations. “We have taken action which was needed in this regard as per the present rules. If the police would not have taken action against the vendor, some people could have reacted in different manners. Hence, the police followed the rules. Please, see this issue in this manner,” said Bulandshahr Police on its official Twitter handle.

Clarion India tried to contact the Bulandshahr Police for clarification on the issue but failed to connect with the officials concerned.

The police action drew a lot of outrage on Twitter with many viewed it as a harassment of a poor Muslim man. Author and human rights defender Akar Patel criticized the explanation offered by the police.

Former IPS officer Dr. N.C Ashthana said that UP Police are crooked duffers who have taken this action against the Muslim vendor for pleasing their masters. “We always knew that the UP police were duffers; this incident proves that they are crooked duffers. This is not just epic stupidity. The desire to please their masters by harassing poor Muslims whichever way they can, has consumed whatever little that was left of their zameer (conscience),” tweeted Ashthana.

The Samajwadi Party has also criticised the police action and said the government should instead act against officials who approved Thakur brand name. “It seems the police acted in haste to please their political bosses because the shoe vendor did not commit a crime. He was just selling shoes after purchasing them from a wholesaler. Action should be taken against those government officials who approved Thakur brand name,” Samajwadi Party leader and former member of state planning commission Sudhir Panwar was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying.

Meanwhile, the owner of Thakur Footwear Company, Narendra Trilokani, told The Wire on Wednesday morning that he had heard nothing so far from the police in connection with the incident. The wholesale shoe manufacturing firm was started by Trilokani’s grandfather, Thakur Das Trilokani, and was named after him. Trilokani said that more than 10,000 shoes are produced every month, adding that profit margins are also “quite good”.

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