An owner of a bakery in Chennai was arrested on Saturday over an advertisement that boasted of having “no Muslim staff”. The owner of “Jain Bakeries & Confectioneries” has been booked under section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and section 504 of the IPC (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace).
The advertisement put out by the bakery, which is located at Chennai’s Mahalakshmi Street in T. Nagar, said, "Made by Jains on orders, No Muslim staffs". It soon went viral drawing a flurry of criticism online.
Within hours, Mambalam police took suo motu action against the owner for communalising the advertisement.
The staff at the bakery claimed that the advertisement was “not intended to communalise” and added that a rumour was doing the rounds on WhatsApp, urging people not to buy bakery products made by Muslims and therefore they posted an advertisement to "clear the air". The employees claimed that they took the decision “after receiving several calls from its customers to check if the shop had any Muslim staff member”.
Muslims have been the target of hate crimes ever since a meeting of a group known as the Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi in March resulted in a huge number of coronavirus cases around the country.
Fake videos on social media platforms have claimed to show Muslim men spitting on food, licking plates and sneezing in unison to spread the virus. Even the Bharatiya Janata Party’s IT Cell has blamed Muslims for spreading the pandemic.