Police have started the process to serve a notice to Jabalpur-based Amit Shukla, who had cancelled his food order on Zomato when he learnt it was being delivered by a non-Hindu, that will require him to sign a bond for keeping peace.
“Once the notice (under Section 107/116 of CrPC) is served to sign the bond, the police will watch his activities over six months. The police can take him in custody if there is another violation during the period,” Jabalpur SP Amit Singh told The Indian Express.
He added that Shukla’s tweet was against the spirit of the Constitution and had the potential to whip up passions in a communally sensitive town like Jabalpur.
In response to 40-year-old Shukla’s complaint that the delivery person was a Muslim, Zomato, the app-based food delivery service, had tweeted, “Food doesn’t have a religion. It’s a religion.” This was followed by company CEO Deepinder Goyal’s tweet, “We are proud of the idea of India-and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners. We aren’t sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values.” Zomato’s response won the internet.
However, Shukla was unfazed by the row his tweet had triggered. He said nobody had complained against him and the police had acted on their own.
“Let them serve a notice I will respond after taking legal counsel. Let’s see what reasoning or grounds they cite. I haven’t committed bigotry. Zomato has given a religious spin to what was essentially customer feedback. I tagged the company so the corporate headquarters notices the issue and resolves it. It was between an individual and a corporate. The company it its advantage,” he told The Indian Express.
He said the company neither accepted his demand to change the rider nor cancelled the order, so he gave feedback. “They should have agreed to my personal choice. If you want to buy a red shirt from a shop, you should be given a red shirt and not black. I have my freedom of religion, I have my freedom of religious expression and the right to practise my choice,” he said. “The company claims food has no religion, but why does it offer halal or other food (with religious connotation)? They committed bigotry in my case and highlighted it for free publicity.”
Shukla said his reservations (about Muslim rider) are only for the month of Sawan because he believes one should eat pure and clean food.
An MBA and infrastructure consultant, Shukla said he became a BJP member a few days ago when the party launched its membership drive. Explaining his Twitter handle — @NaMo-SARKAAR — he said he is an ardent follower of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and had advised him to attack Pakistan after the surgical strikes.
When asked whether he has Muslim friends and acquaintances, Shukla said he has many, and does not discriminate when it comes to their wages. “I have a Muslim mechanic for a decade. I trust him. But gaadi, ghoda, petrol alag cheez hai, food is intimate, a personal matter,” he explained.
He said he had not committed a big crime, and if he were to face legal consequences, the company would have to face 10 times more.
VHP and Bajrang Dal extended support to Shukla on Thursday. His Twitter followers increased from 900 to 3,000-odd after the row.