A resident of Kashimira locality in Thane, Mumbai has been arrested for allegedly refusing to accept groceries from Muslim delivery personnel.
Gajanan Chaturvedi, 51 was booked under IPC section 295(A) (malicious act outraging religious feelings) on the night of April 21, hours after his Islamophobic comments were recorded on video by the employee, 32-year-old Barkat Patel.
Patel is a Mira Road resident working with grocery service Grofers. The first of Patel's nine deliveries on April 21 was at the home of Supriya Chaturvedi at Jaya Park at 9.40 am. In accordance with the current mandate for delivery, Patel was required to give Chaturvedi her parcel outside the gate of her apartment complex. Just as he was about hand over the parcel, Chaturvedi's husband, Gajanan stopped her.
"The lady wanted to take the parcel but the man said no. When he said he would not take the parcel from Muslims, I did not say anything and started to record him on my phone. It was very hurtful," Indian Express quoted Patel as saying.
This video is said to be from Maharashtra's Mira Road.— Deccan Daily (@DailyDeccan) April 21, 2020
This person had refused to take delivery of ordered groceries because the delivery boy was a Muslim.
Hello @ThaneCityPolice @AUThackeray @CMOMaharashtra please appropriate action against such people. pic.twitter.com/VNN8Kva2E8
Sanjay Hajare, senior inspector, Kashimira police station, informed that the accused was found at the address where Patel was to deliver the groceries and was identified as the man recorded in the video.
"When the delivery boy reached the house, Mr Chaturvedi refused to accept the items as he had ascertained the delivery boy's religion based on his appearance," The Hindu quoted an officer at Kashimira police station as saying.
Patel had tried reasoning with Chaturvedi, but he remained adamant. Patel later approached the Kashimira police station.
"We recorded the complainant's statement and immediately registered an FIR. Mr. Chaturvedi was arrested the same day and produced in court. He has been remanded in judicial custody," Hajare said.
"We are taking a huge risk while doing so. Most customers understand why I am out," Patel added while saying that since the lockdown was enforced, customers have been treating him with more respect.
Ever since March 30, when it was reported that six attendees at the Tablighi Jamaat, an Islamic religious reform movement in Delhi's Nizamuddin locality, had died of COVID-19, there have been several instances of Muslims being targeted in India despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Video clips shared on Facebook and WhatsApp purportedly showed Muslims actively working to spread the virus in India.
On April 19 the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation urged the government 'to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in India'.
1/2 #OIC-IPHRC condemns the unrelenting vicious #Islamophobic campaign in #India maligning Muslims for spread of #COVID-19 as well as their negative profiling in media subjecting them to discrimination & violence with impunity.— OIC-IPHRC (@OIC_IPHRC) April 19, 2020
2/2 #OIC-IPHRC urges the #Indian Govt to take urgent steps to stop the growing tide of #Islamophobia in India and protect the rights of its persecuted #Muslim minority as per its obligations under int"l HR law.— OIC-IPHRC (@OIC_IPHRC) April 19, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called for "unity and brotherhood" in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak which does not discriminate between "race, religion, caste before striking."
COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) April 19, 2020
Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood.
We are in this together: PM @narendramodi