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Sunday, July 05, 2020

‘Let my building burn’: Owner of Indian restaurant in Minneapolis want justice for George Floyd

The Gandhi Mahal caught fire as it was just doors away from the Third Precinct headquarters of the Minneapolis Police Department, which was set ablaze by protesters on Thursday night.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 31, 2020 10:53:18 am
Minneapolis protest, Minneapolis gandhi mahal viral post, gandhi mahal restaurant burnt, gandhi mahal burnt owner solidairty message, george floyd death, Minneapolis black man murder, viral news, indian express The owner had opened the restaurants for medics to treat those injured in the violence. (Source: Gandhi Mahal Restaurant/ Facebook)

A building housing an Indian cuisine restaurant was among those damaged in the protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis this week. The Gandhi Mahal caught fire as it was just doors away from the Third Precinct headquarters of the Minneapolis Police Department, which was set ablaze by protesters on Thursday night. However, in response to the incident, the owners, who are of Bangladeshi-origin, posted a message that is winning hearts online.

“We won’t lose hope though, I am so grateful for our neighbours who did their best to stand guard and protect Gandhi Mahal. You’re efforts won’t go unrecognised,” wrote Hafsa Islam, the 18-year-old daughter of owner Ruhel Islam, in a now-viral Facebook post. “Don’t worry about us, we will rebuild and we will recover,” she added.

Talking about her father, Hafsa also said, “I hear him say on the phone, ‘let my building burn, justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail’.”

With over 27,000 shares, the post has touched millions of hearts online, spreading across social media platforms from Twitter to Instagram.

Also read | Why George Floyd’s death has sparked violent protests in the US

“Gandhi Mahal may have felt the flames last night, but our fiery drive to help protect and stand with our community will never die! Peace be with everyone,” Hafsa added.

On a GoFundMe page set up to help the family recover from the loss, the Islams thanked people for their generous donations and added, “If you donate here, we will also use the funds to make food to support others in our community during this challenging time. We are looking into a temporary kitchen so that we can continue to provide take out food.”

The family is revered in the locality for their community service. The eatery is reportedly a hub of inter-faith interactions that promotes sustainable living to fight climate change, supports farmers and budding artists.

As protests grew violent in Minneapolis, the family reportedly opened the doors of the restaurant to paramedics to treat those injured and other protesters to take shelter from the police’s mace, tear gas and rubber bullets. “We were just trying to do what we could to help our community,” said Hafsa, who helped treat wounded protesters.

‘This is what solidarity looks like’: How users responded

Not just Gandhi Mahal, a popular book shop and a local pub too were damaged during the protests. “Things that may be lost or damaged in our building are just things, but your life is priceless, just like George Floyd’s life was priceless,” read a statement by Moon Palace Books.

Meanwhile, Dayna Frank of The Turf said: “We’ll rebuild; we’re not dead. You know who’s dead? George Floyd. You know who’s still unhurt? The murderous cop and his accomplices.”

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