‘Cops Threatened To Jail Us’: Fruit-Sellers Booked For Writing ‘Hindu’ On Their Stalls In Jharkhand

‘Cops Threatened To Jail Us’: Fruit-Sellers Booked For Writing ‘Hindu’ On Their Stalls In JharkhandFruit seller in Jamshedpur whose VHP banners were removed today by Jharkhand police
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  • Swarajya spoke to one of the fruit-sellers booked by police in Jamshedpur

A group of fruit sellers belonging to the Hindu community in Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur city have been booked by the police for writing ‘Hindu’ on their stalls.

The fruit-sellers had put up banners in front of their stalls which read, ‘Vishwa Hindu Parishad ki anumodit Hindu phal dukaan’ (translated as ‘fruit shop approved by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’.

The shops also had photographs of Lord Shiva and Lord Ram; the banners also displayed their names and contact numbers.

Earlier in the day, a Twitter user, Ahsan Razi, complained about the banners on social media. The police reached the site and got the banners removed.

Swarajya spoke to one of the stall-owners over the phone later in the day. He spoke on the condition of anonymity as he didn’t want to disclose his name for fear of reprisal from local cops.

He said, “Police came at 11 am today. Initially, they were really angry and were enquiring where we got the banners from and who gave these to us. They threatened to file a case against us and put us all in jail. But after a while, they cooled down and told us not to put such banners in front of our stalls.

“We apologised and told them we didn’t know it wasn’t allowed and won’t do so in future,” he said.

The shopkeeper further told this correspondent that they had been contacted by a Bajrang Dal member a few days ago, and posters were given to them. “We had these banners on our stalls for the past one week. Nobody had a problem until today. These cops regularly pass from here and they never objected. Don’t know why they came with warning today,” said the fruit seller.

“They asked us to remove our masks, clicked our photos and noted down our names, numbers and addresses, and warned us not to put such posters in future,” said another shopkeeper, who also spoke over the phone with Swarajya. “We didn’t object to what the cops were saying and doing. We promised not to put these banners again,” he added.

After the complaint on Twitter, Jharkhand police took cognisance of the matter and tagged Jamshedpur Police department ordering it to take action immediately.

Jamshedpur police replied saying that action has been initiated and banners have been removed. Additionally, legal action is being taken against shopkeepers under section 107 of CRPC, the police said.

This section deals with action against persons who are “likely to commit a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquility or to do any wrongful act that may probably occasion a breach of the peace or disturb the public tranquility“. The local magistrate can require such persons to show cause “why he should not be ordered to execute a bond with or without sureties for keeping the peace for such period, not exceeding one year, as the Magistrate thinks fit.”

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