Mumbai's famous Karachi Bakery, which recently landed into controversy after angry Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers objected to its "Pakistani" name, pulled down shutters due to loss in business.
The Karachi Bakery is part of the famous Hyderabad-based chain, run by Sindhi migrants from Karachi in Pakistan.
However, the MNS claimed credit for the closure of the bakery while its owners refuted and said that the move was decided “after the old lease agreement lapsed” and not due to the renaming controversy.
“We shut shop after the old lease agreement lapsed. Our landlord had been demanding a higher sum as rent which was unviable for us. The lockdown had already caused business volumes to drop,” Rameshwar Waghmare, the bakery’s manager, told The Times of India.
“There was no reason to capitulate by changing our name. The bakery was a legitimate business with all valid licences and approvals. Our decision is based on business factors. Let others take credit for it if they wish,” said Waghmare.
However, on March 1, MNS Vice-president Haji Saif Shaikh tweeted saying, “After massive protest for its name, Karachi Bakery finally closes its only shop in Mumbai.”
Meanwhile, Shaikh told TOI, “I did not ask Karachi Bakery to shut business. But our soldiers are being killed on the border. Every day wereceive news of skirmishes with Pakistan. So I gave a 15-day ultimatum to either change the name, or the spelling. I said spell it Karachee. They replied saying the name reflects their age-old ties to their native city. Today I am happy.”
In November 2020, Haji Saif Shaikh, vice president of the MNS, had created a furore outside the premises and had sent a legal notice to the Sindhi shop owner urging to change the name, which they felt was "anti-national" and "unpatriotic". Shaikh demanded that the bakery should be renamed and the signboard should be in Marathi, saying the word Karachi hurts sentiments of ordinary Indians and the Indian Army because it is a Pakistani city.