It has been a week since Abdul Hossen* opened his meat shop in Gurugram’s Sadar Bazar.
After pulling down the shutters on August 1, a day after the VHP rally in Haryana’s Nuh district, Mr. Hossen says he was thinking of reopening his shop over the weekend.
However, he adds, Sunday’s mahapanchayat by local Hindu community members in the city’s Tigra village, where calls were made to boycott Muslim-run businesses, came as a shocking reminder that “I could be their next target”.
“How is it that a group of people can organise such an event, where they abuse us, while the police and the government stay silent?” Mr. Hossen said.
He incurs a loss of ₹1,500 each day his shop remains shut.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Nitish Aggarwal said that action is being taken against those disturbing law and order and patrolling has been intensified in the area.
“We have initiated several confidence-building measures to instil a sense of security among the residents,” Mr. Aggarwal added.
Another meat shop owner in Sadar Bazar’s Jakub Pura, Faraz Ahmad*, said, “As a result of the vilification of our community on television channels every day, our neighbours have stopped talking to us. How could a mahapanchayat be allowed to take place despite Section 144 [of the CrPC] being in force?” Mr. Ahmad said.
Imran*, a 24-year-old vegetable vendor who was getting ready to leave the busy marketplace for his home in Gurugram, said, “We barely make enough to sustain ourselves. Now, we are being told not to rent spaces or engage in any kind of business. We are migrant workers. If we are not allowed to earn a living, we won’t be able to survive.”
(*Names changed to protect identity)