What’s in a name: Post-Pulwama, bakery yes, but ‘Karachi’ no

A mob demanded bakery staff to delete Karachi from the signboard. Twitter/prajwalmanipal

Karachi Bakery, a household name in Hyderabad, akin to Paradise Biryani and Hotel Shadab, recently arrived in Bengaluru with high hopes and optimism. But little did the bakery owners know that their trademark name would spell trouble for them.

The Pulwama attack in Kashmir and the consequent airstrike by the Indian Airforce in Pakistan may have happened miles away, but a few self-styled social workers reportedly associated with the Sangh Parivar chose to condemn the attack by demanding Karachi Bakery owners to strike off Karachi from the bakery’s name.

Soon after the Pulwama attack, a mob of “social workers” February 22 arrived at the bakery, not to taste its delicacies but to demand that the staff delete Karachi from their signboard. They did not hurt anyone or damage property but their threat was enough to traumatise the staff. They quickly covered the name with an opaque cloth and planted the Indian tricolour flag atop the signboard.

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The staff’s plea that the owners of the bakery were a Hindu family who originally came from what is now Pakistan, made no sense to the mob which doggedly demanded that the name be changed. Eventually, the mob dispersed and the police intervened. At least six of the nine involved were arrested. Security has since been posted outside the bakery.

Even as the bakery staff was recovering from the attack, they received an internet call a few days later threatening them to “shoot down” the bakery if Karachi was not removed from the signboard. The caller, according to the local Deccan Herald newspaper, threatened to attack the bakery if his demand was not heeded within 24 hours. “Karachi is a Pakistani city and its name cannot be used in India,” the caller was quoted as saying.

Karachi Bakery, located in Bengaluru’s culinary-centric 100 Feet Road in Indiranagar, was not the only one targeted. Another branch in Ahmedabad too has invited ire from a similar mob.

The bakery, founded in 1952 in Hyderabad, is reportedly owned by Khanchand Ramnani, a Sindhi, who migrated to India from Karachi during Partition.

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