Indian Man Arrested for Wrapping Chicken In Newspaper Bearing Hindu Gods

On July 3rd, in Sambhal, Uttar Pradesh, the owner of a restaurant, Talib Hussain, was taken into police custody for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindu community by wrapping chicken dishes in old newspapers which contained the images of Hindu deities.

Locals that claim they saw him doing this had complained to the police.

An FIR was lodged by the senior sub-inspector, Ajay Kumar Tyagi, which stated that Talib Hussain was deliberately doing this to hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindus.

It is alleged that when the cops reached his restaurant to apprehend the accused for his actions, the restaurant owner pulled out a knife and tried to attack the officers with the "intention to kill."

The restaurant owner's family says the allegations against Hussain are all fabricated. They also alleged that Sambhal police are conspiring with the Hindu organizations in the area against the Muslim family. The family said they were trying to punish a man just because of his religion.

Sub-inspector Tyagi of the Sambhal Kotwali police station said, "A total of 90 full papers and 116 single sheets of newspapers from April 2nd, 2022, were with Hussain which had images of goddess Mahagauri and Saraswati. Some people informed us that they saw meat being served on those papers,"

Before the police were informed about the case, the district vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), BJP's youth wing, Himanshu Kashyap, shared a picture of Talib Hussain in his shop on his Twitter handle. Tagging the local authorities in his tweet, he urged them to take strict action against the accused.

A crowd of members from a nearby Hindu organization, the Hindu Jagran Manch, had gathered in front of the restaurant. Kashyap added, "People who are connected with us had gone there, and when they saw meat being wrapped in newspapers, they asked Hussain to stop, but he misbehaved with them. An hour later, when Hussain was still using those papers, our boys informed us, and we called the police,"

According to Kashyap, Hussain was warned four days ago to discard newspapers containing pictures of Hindu gods. 

Hussain's family is now in dire straits as many customers had stopped visiting his diner after his arrest. His grandchildren have stopped going to school. His son, Mohammad Tabish, had taken over the restaurant. 

Tabish renounced the claims of Kashyap, saying that his father had never wrapped non-vegetarian items in newspapers., “We don’t sell chicken wrapped in newspaper — we have aluminium foils and bags for that. We give only rotis wrapped in newspapers…. We are not insulting any God.”

Hussain was booked under sections 295A and 153A for his actions that had hurt a religious community. He also was booked under sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 353 (assault against a public servant).

Hussain’s arrest coincides with numerous such cases spreading all over the country. The communal tension is rising as India's two major religious bodies are at each other's throats. A tailor from Udaipur was murdered after he shared a social media post in support of former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Similarly, a pharmacist was also killed in Amravati, Maharashtra.

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