Muslim roadside vendor held for selling shoes with ‘Thakur’ embossed on sole in UP's Bulandshahr

A Muslim shopkeeper in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr was detained after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against him for selling shoes that had a caste-identifying word inscribed on its sole.

The shopkeeper, Nasir, was booked following a complaint was registered by Bajrang Dal leader Vishal Chuhan which said that the shoes being sold by the shopkeeper had the word "Thakur" written on it.

"Based on the complaint, an FIR has been lodged against the shoe vendor at the Gulawathi police station and the matter is being investigated. Further action would be taken on the basis of the probe," Additional Superintendent of Police (City) Atul Kumar Srivastava told news agency PTI.

The FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), according to officials.

The incident and the police action drew sharp criticism from some social media users. Responding to the reactions, the district police said on Twitter: "Had the police not taken the action as per the legal system, many people would have reacted differently or in the wrong way (ulti ya bhinn pratikriya dete). Hence, the police have followed the rules and please look at it in the same way."

While denying media reports, Namrita Shrivastava, Circle Officer, Sikandarabad, told The Hindu that Nasir was taken to the police station for interrogation and that he was not arrested.

“We wanted to know about the manufacturer. He told us that he had sourced it from a dealer in Delhi and that he didn’t know that a caste was embossed on the sole of the shoes. He would be released soon,” said Shrivastava.

(Inputs from PTI)

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