The only branch of famous Karachi Bakery in Mumbai has pulled down its shutters after an alleged tussle with Maharashtra Navnirman Sena workers over its name. While the owners blamed the dip in revenues and profits, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) claimed credit for the shops’s shutdown. MNS and Shiv Sena leaders had raised objection last year over the name of the famous bakery shop which is based on the name of Pakistani city Karachi.
The bakery was formerly owned by Ramnanis of Hyderabad, a Sindhi Hindu. It has outlets across the country and has had its share of controversies lately over its name. MNS leaders had objected over the name saying it was “anti-national” and had filed a complaint against the bakery. Some Shiv Sena leaders had threatened the store owner to shut the shop or change its name. The name board of the store was covered with paper following this stir.
In November 2020, Shiv Sena’s Nithin Madhukar Nandgaonkar had a heated argument with the owner of the store in Bandra asking him to change the word Karachi from the shop’s name and replace it with something in Marathi, or anything else. His issue was with the use of the word Karachi, the name of a city in Pakistan, despite the owner telling him that the name was to honour his parents who had fled from Karachi at the time of Partition.
Following outrage against the video, Sena leader Sanjay Raut distanced the party from the comment, claiming that Nandgaonkar did not represent the opinions of the whole party.
While the MNS workers claim the credit, the management of the bakery has said it was the lockdown and the subsequent slump in the business that they had to pull down the shutters. They said the lease had lapsed and the landlord wanted to increase the rent and they subsequently decided to shut the shop.
While this has been a heartbreak moment for many, this is not for the first time that a shop faced opposition owing to its name. In February 2019, people protested against Bengaluru’s Karachi Bakery, demanding it changes its name due to its connection to Pakistan. At the time, viral videos have shown angry protesters demanding that the store owners take down the name of the store.
Karachi Bakery’s Hyderabad branch also received threats in February with angry protesters demanding a change to the name due to its connection to Pakistan. The threats to the Karachi bakery branches in both Bengaluru and Hyderabad followed the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama which resulted in the deaths of 40 soldiers of the Indian Army.