Zubair Shaikh’s shop on Naroda Patiya road is ‘rebranded’; among his customers is Qutubuddin Ansari, the man in the iconic image of the riots
During the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat, Naroda Patiya saw the worst massacre, with 97 Muslims being killed on February 28, 2002. Twelve years later, a tea shop near the area is among the 80 on the Naroda-Chiloda road in north Ahmedabad that are being “rebranded” as “NaMo Tea Stalls”.
The shop is just 100 metres away from what used to be the house of Qutubuddin Ansari, the tailor who became the face of the riots. The owner, Zubair Shaikh, in his forties, is Ansari’s friend. Although Ansari no longer lives there, he is still a regular customer.
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Shaikh’s shop was earlier called “Best Tea Stall”. But on Monday, a specially designed saffron “NaMo Tea Stall” signboard, with a picture of Modi and the slogan, “Ordinary man, extraordinary personality”, was put up by Prakash Gurjar, vice-president of the Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).
Shaikh said the rebranding exercise was unlikely to help his business. “Most of my clients are riot victims — Naroda Patiya is just three-four kilometres away,” he said.
“Some local party workers asked for my consent and put up the signboard,” said Shaikh. “A similar signboard on a nearby stall was vandalised and removed by some residents,” he said. “He will have to guard against anti-Modi sentiments,” said Ansari, who was present at the shop. “Modi will not get any votes from here, come what may,” said a resident on condition of anonymity. When contacted, Gurjar said he had taken the initiative to put up the signboards. “They will remain at these stalls permanently,” he said.