Three restaurants in Delhi were trolled and threatened on social media for distributing food to Rohingya refugees residing in Jasola on the occasion of Navratri.
Shivam Sehgal, 25, who owns two of the restaurants - Josh, The High Energy Bar and the Marketplace - told The Quint:
"“We often collaborate with different NGOs to give back to the society at large. This time too, we went there with good intentions of distributing food to those in need.”"
Sehgal said the trolling started as soon as news agency ANI put out a tweet saying, “Delhi: Restaurant owners distribute food amongst Rohingya refugees in navaratras.”
“Within three hours of the tweet, there were about a thousand comments and 500 quote tweets, majority of which were hateful and slamming us for feeding Rohingya Muslims,” says Sehgal.
The comment section of the ANI tweet shows many asking for a shutdown and boycott of the “restaurants for providing food to Rohingya Muslims.”
He added, “I started getting calls on the restaurant phone number asking me why I decided to give food to illegal immigrants. I tried to reason with each of them. Soon, they started rating us negatively in Zomato.”
Swagath was the third restaurant which was caught in the crossfire on social media.
‘Food Has No Religion’
Sehgal said, “We strongly believe that ‘Food has no Religion’ and therefore offered food to a group of people who struggle for survival daily.”
“What started with a noble intention of ‘Giving back to the Society’ has now taken the form of heavy trolling and is moving towards a great loss for our business,” he said.
Asked if he would be scared to take up such an initiative in the future, Sehgal said, “I definitely will do this again because I genuinely feel about the cause of giving to the needy. But I want to avoid media attention next time I do this in future because most of them only represent the partial story and it gets misinterpreted on social media.”
He said, “The refugees included people from different communities and not just Muslims. And even, if it had included just Muslims, what is the problem in providing food to the needy?”
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