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Yogi Adityanath’s ban on meat around Krishna Janmasthan in Mathura meets Shahi Idgah issue: TOI peddles sob stories, readying the next cycle of outrage

In its attempt to manufacture controversy and undermine the concerns raised by the Hindu side concerning Shahi Idgah, the TOI deviously conflated the two disparate issues of the meat ban around the Shri Krishna Janmasthan and the Shahi Idgah petition so that they can reinforce the 'Dara Hua Musalman' trope and usher the country into the next outrage cycle.

The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has shut down as many as 37 shops selling alcohol and cannabis in areas surrounding Sri Krishna Janmasthan Mandir in Mathura. The government has also cancelled the licences of several liquor shop owners operating within a 10 km radius of the Krishna Mandir in Mathura.

The action was taken after the excise department received a government order asking it to stop the sale of narcotics and liquor falling within a 10 km radius of the temple. The government said that the order should come into immediate effect from June 1, 2022, Wednesday.

The officials said that the Yogi government has once again reiterated that a 10 square km area with the Krishna Janmasthan in Mathura at its centre is a religious pilgrimage site and therefore the sale of alcohol and meat here would be completely banned. Following the order, the official sprung into action on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, and shut the 37 shops selling liquor and cannabis within a radius of 10 km of the Sri Krishna Janmasthan Temple. 

As the Yogi Government respects Hindu sentiments and starts to shut meat and alcohol shops in a 10 km radius of Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple, the media has now started peddling sob stories to craft the next cycle of outrage, not just insulting Yogi Adityanath but also Hindus at large.

TimesNow published a report on June 1st 2022 where it detailed a sob story about a Muslim owner of a restaurant who supposedly had to fire his Muslim staff and hire Hindus to keep up with the “changing times”.

Article headline by TimesNow

The impression one gets from the headline is that Hindus are refusing to go to the restaurant perhaps because the “bigoted Hindus” were refusing to engage with Muslim employees. However, a deep delve into the article shows how the narrative has been twisted to demonise Hindus.

The article starts with blaming the calls to “remove Shahi Idgah Mosque” and how it has created communal tension in Mathura.

 TOI krishna janmasthan

The article says that Mohammad Zameel has fired his Muslim employees because living as a Muslim has become difficult in Mathura and he is viewed his suspicion. The article goes on to claim that he has changed the name of his restaurant from ‘Taj Hotel’ which was named in 1974 to ‘Royal Family Restaurant’ in December 2021.

Firstly, “Taj Hotel” hardly has any Islamic connotations and therefore, to connect this to the supposed fear that Zameel feels is the result of weaving facts to suit a narrative. Secondly, while the Shahi Idgah controversy has been ongoing for a while, given that in December 2021 a petition was filed to stop Namaz at the disputed structure, the claim that “calls to remove Shahi Idgah” led to communal tension, leading to Zameel changing the name of his restaurant does not seem to make too much sense. The current petition for the removal of Shahi Idgah was filed only in 2022.

Zameel further told TOI that the restaurant has been his family’s source of income for decades. “Before me, my parents used to run the restaurant and it’s painful for me to change my family’s legacy. We have been living in times of uncertainty and constantly fear the unknown. We have no option but to hide our identities to earn our livelihood,” said Zameel.

After half the article dedicated the Zameel’s sob story about “changing the character of his restaurant” because he is being looked upon with suspicion, leading to the firing of 8 of his Muslim staff members, the real motives behind this move is revealed.

Zameel tells TOI that after the meat ban in Mathura, near the Krishna Janmasthaan, he has had to replace his menu to include vegetarian items.

 TOI krishna janmasthan

There are two revelations by Mohammad Zameel here:

  1. The demand for meat has gone down after the liquor and meat ban near the Krishna Janmasthaan. Now, it is interesting to note that the Times of India refuses to fact check that firstly, liquor etc is not banned in the entire city of Mathura but only in a 10 KM radius of Krishna Janmasthaan. Secondly, if the demand has gone down and it is because of that Zameel changed his menu, he can’t possibly blame Hindus overall for it. People are not bound to consume meat just so Mohammad Zameel can maintain the original character of his restaurant.
  2. He says that he replaced his Muslim staff because Hindus cook vegetarian food better.

Interestingly, none of these reasons seems to have anything to do with the Shahi Idgah petition filed in the court.

To give weight to the “Dara Hua Musalman” narrative, the Times of India quotes Zameel as saying that he has stopped sitting at the cash counter so that his appearance does not keep the clients away. Craftily, the article adds an “allegedly” in the sentence because it is evident that they have also not been able to confirm this claim by Zameel.

Interestingly, after making these tall claims, Zameel comes back to the real reason the “character of his restaurant” has been altered.

 TOI krishna janmasthan

While the article started by claiming that there is communal tension in the city due to the Shahi Idgah petition, Zameel seems to be only lamenting how people are not eating enough non-vegetarian food for his business to do well.

Plea submitted in District Court to secure Shahi Idgah Masjid after the discovery of Shivling in Gyanvapi premises

The Times of India’s article publishing a sob story about a struggling Muslim businessman came in the wake of a plea filed in a Mathura court, requesting that the Shahi Idgah Masjid be sealed and that security be deployed to protect Hindu sacred artefacts from being vandalised. The petition was filed after a Shivling was discovered at the disputed site in the Gyanvapi compound.

In his appeal, advocate Mahendra Pratap Singh argued that there are remnants of Lotus, Sheshnag, Om, Swastik, and other Hindu religious symbols in the actual sanctum sanctorum. He added that some of them have already been destroyed, and the defendants are currently attempting to vandalise the others.

The court has also agreed to hear a plea seeking videography of the disputed Shahi Idgah mosque. Manish Yadav, Mahendra Pratap Singh, and Dinesh Sharma are among the petitioners who have called for the appointment of an attorney commissioner to conduct the video survey in the Shahi Idgah mosque grounds in Mathura.

TOI conflates the meat ban around Krishna Janmasthan with the Shahi Idgah issue to perpetuate the ‘Dara Hua Musalman’ trope

Zameel, in the article published in TOI, bemoans that people are not eating enough non-vegetarian food and therefore, he has to replace his Muslim staff with Hindus good at cooking vegetarian food. Now, it begs the question as to why the Times of India deemed it fit to allege communal disharmony due to a court petition when the reality, as mentioned in their article itself, is quite different.

The answer to this question is the media’s predilection for perpetuating the ‘Dara Hua Musalman’ trope so that they can continue to keep Hindus guilt-tripped and subdue their growing assertiveness. The Hindu claims of a temple underneath the disputed structure in the Gyanvapi compound got a tremendous shot in the arm when the survey team found Shivling inside the wuzukhana of the mosque and Hindu motifs engraved on the walls of its basement.

The media, after failing to create a sympathetic narrative in the Gyanvapi case, is leaving no stone unturned to weaken the Hindu side’s claim on Shahi Idgah. It is to this end that they are deviously conflating two disparate issues of the meat ban around the Shri Krishna Janmasthan and the Shahi Idgah petition so that they can reinforce their narrative of Muslim victimhood and usher the country into the next outrage cycle, with the ulterior aim of undermining the claims by the Hindu side and deprive them of their right to reclaim their places of worship.

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