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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Karim’s restaurant employees attack customers with knives and rods: Kolkata

Employees of Karim’s restaurant, a famous eatery in Kolkata, have been accused of attacking customers with sharp knives and rods after a brawl broke out between the two parties. Jenifer Kirti Desai, sister of one of the victims, took to her Instagram account to share photos and videos of the incident.

She alleges that at around 11:15 PM on December 26, her brother Nand Desai, aged 23, had visited Karim’s restaurant situated at Aurobindo Sarani for dinner with his friends Navneet Soni and Vinayak Choubey and one of his relatives. The restaurant staff asked for full payment before serving the food. As it was closing time, the customers obliged. The food served to them was cold and when they complained about it, the waiter allegedly said that they could only serve food like that post-closing time. The hotel staff also refused when the guests requested some onions, and started abusing the guests when they offered extra money for onions. 

The relative approached the manager to report the staff’s misbehavior and then went outside to call Nand’s father and talk to him about the situation they had landed in. 

But the quarrel between the restaurant employees and Nand escalated. Jenifer says that the waiter got very close to her brother and just when they were about to leave the premises, someone came with a sharp knife and stabbed Nand. Navneet saw him falling and pushed the employees, but he too was hit with an iron rod and a sharp knife. Nand was hit again when he tried to get up. The employees of Karim’s grabbed them by the collars and flung them outside the restaurant.

Jenifer further narrates how Nand somehow managed to bring Navneet home and the family then hurried them to the nearest hospital for first aid. They were later taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital as their cuts were deep and required a specialist surgeon to do the stitches. Nand received 13 stitches and had bled profusely. Navneet had also received multiple injuries, including two cuts on the head. 

Jenifer further claims that the police refused to lodge the FIR initially. By the time the family got the victims the required medical attention and reached the Burtolla Police Station, the police had already been contacted by Karim’s. The Police officer informed them the people from Karim’s had told them that Nand and his friends were consuming alcohol inside the restaurant and had initiated the fight. The FIR was finally registered on December 28 under IPC sections 114 (abettor present when the offence is committed) and 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means). 

Karim’s has also taken to their Instagram page and shared CCTV footage to claim that the customers had behaved ‘rudely’ with their staff. The restaurant also maintained that the concerned customers had water bottles that ‘contained alcohol’ and were ‘surreptitiously drinking from those bottles. However, they have not shared any visuals of the violent clashes which led to serious injuries on two of their customers.

If customers were drinking alcohol inside their premises and the restaurant’s owner or management did not approve, they could have politely asked them to go out of the restaurant or called police. Attacking customers with knives and rods is not how ‘customer service’ is usually understood in the restaurant business. 

Jenifer has recently lost her mother, and the attack on her brother has left her disturbed. While talking to a news media, she said, “I am not denying that my brother used foul language or fought back in retaliation. But it is not fair to attack someone over a petty argument.” According to a news published in ABP Ananda, the police have arrested one worker accused in the case. 

The question must also be asked of Hindus who insist on frequenting such establishments run by irascible, hot-headed employees, many of whom likely nurse anti-Hindu sentiments. The spate of incidents of Muslim fruit sellers, cooks spitting on rotis, bakery products etc that have come to light over the last 2 years shows that radicalization levels are dangerously high in that community.

The recent arrests of radical, hate-spewing clerics like Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, Md. Umar Gautam; the anti-Hindu and anti-kafir invective hurled by Maulana Abbas Siddiqui and Tablighi Jamaat’s Maulana Saad all show how Muslim youth are being indoctrinated to hate Hindus and other non-Muslims.

But even entertaining Muslim customers has proved deadly for Hindu restaurant owners in the past. In 2013, a hostile Muslim mob sparked rioting in Dhule, Maharashtra after two Muslim youth got into a scuffle with a Hindu restaurant owner over a Rs. 30 bill. Police had to open fire leading to 6 deaths. Then in 2018, Sanjay Mondal was shot dead by Firoz in West Bengal for demanding Rs. 190 for a plate of biryani at his eatery.

For personal safety and in interest of law & order, it is advisable for Hindus to avoid such establishments for now, and instead frequent places that will generate much needed employment for poor Hindus, who anyway lack the highly organized, foreign-funded religious support structure that other communities enjoy.

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