Members of Hindutva group Bajrang Dal on Monday tore down and set fire on a banner put up by a restaurant in Gujarat’s Surat city about a Pakistani food festival, the Deccan Herald reported.
As the banner went up in flames, a video of incident showed a group of men shouting “Jai Shri Ram.”
The Hindutva outfit said that it got to know about the hoarding put by Taste of India, which runs several restaurants in Surat, from social media platform. Aslam Cyclewala, Congress leader and former Surat city councillor Aslam Cyclewala had shot a video of the banner and uploaded it on Facebook.
Surat’s Bajrang Dal leader Deviprasad Dubey said that after seeing the posts about the food festival on social media, he and his and associates went to the restaurant and took the hoarding down.
The group asked the restaurant’s owner, Sandeep Dawer, why he had organised a Pakistani food festival, The Indian Expressreported. “We also told him that between December 12 and 22 [the dates for the food festival], we would send our volunteers [to the restaurant] secretly,” Dubey added.
The Bajrang Dal leader said he and his associates told Dawer that if Pakistani food was served at the restaurant, he would be “responsible for the consequences”.
According to The Indian Express, Aslam Cyclewala said the licence of the restaurant should be cancelled and claimed the restaurant owner had close links with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and it was unlikely that any action would be taken against him.
“Had such a festival been organised by any Muslim owner of a restaurant, what would have been the consequences?” the Congress leader asked.
Sandeep Dawer said his restaurant has cancelled the Pakistani food festival due to pressure and will instead organise a seafood festival. However, clarified that his restaurant was not against Pakistan, The Indian Express reported.
“We are against their political system that is against India,” he told newspaper.
“Food is common everywhere in the world. We have not invited any Pakistani cuisine chef, but our staff had, through online videos, prepared a menu for the food lovers,” he added.