When Sheila* entered the Karachi Bakery outlet in Bengaluru's Indiranagar on Friday evening, she had little clue that she would not be able to finish eating the snack she had ordered.
She packed her snack and left the outlet within 20 minutes after a group of unidentified persons began chanting slogans at the entrance to the bakery.
"When we were walking into the restaurant around 8 pm, there was a crowd of maybe 15 people standing outside who looked like a group of colleagues hanging out together after office hours. They did not have any symbols or anything you could identify them or their affiliations with..Inside the bakery, there were five customers when the group was speaking to the employees in the bakery," recalls Sheila.
Read: 9 arrested for mobbing Karachi Bakery in Bengaluru, forcing them to cover name board
A few minutes passed without incident when suddenly, one of the men entered the ground floor of the bakery and started filming a video on his phone. "We could identify the word 'Pakistan' being repeated loudly so we were scared that we are in Karachi bakery and we had not thought of that until this moment. Along with the person filming, there was one more person who was vocal. The others were just standing behind these two and not singing slogans initially but the situation had grown tense by this point. So, we decided to pack our items and leave the bakery," she says.
After leaving the bakery, Sheila watched the tense situation play out from across the road. "We waited on the opposite side of the road for another 20 minutes and we saw people climbed on the main name board to put a cover on the word 'Karachi'. After the word had been sufficiently covered, tthe group of people were still speaking to employees and trying to get them to display the Indian flag. This took some time because they did not know where to display the flag and eventually it was put up on the first floor on the window. They shouted couple of slogans and that was it," she says before adding, "I wanted to call the police but the situation was quite under control. There was no security or police official nearby."
According to eyewitnesses and employees at the baker, the entire ordeal lasted close to half an hour and although no violence was reported, it was an unnerving experience for the customers and employees of the Karachi Bakery outlet.
After the crowd had dispersed, a distress call was sent to the police and officials from the Indiranagar police station arrived on the spot to enquire about the incident. Police are yet to register a case but confirmed that they are investigating the incident. "We received a call yesterday about this and our officials have immediately reached the spot. We are investigating the incident," a police official from Indiranagar police station told TNM. Police confirmed that they have not registered a case in connection with the incident.
An employee of the bakery outlet confirmed to TNM that the intention of the crowd was to change the name of the bakery. "We displayed the Indian flag in order to satisfy them and make them leave. We continued to operate as per usual after they left,"a manager at the bakery said.
The official Facebook page of the bakery franchise posted a statement on Saturday clarifying that they are an Indian company. "We would like to clarify that Karachi Bakery was founded by Shri Khanchand Ramnani, who migrated to India during the partition. The brand was established in 1953 and is an Indian company based out of Hyderabad, Telangana, India. The popularity and love for its products has contributed to its growth throughout India and abroad. The essence of Karachi Bakery is absolutely Indian by heart and will remain so. We request everybody to refrain from any kind of misconception,"
This is however not the first time that Karachi bakery is becoming a target. In 2016, they faced a boycott campaign, as they were reported to be selling Israeli dates as part of Ramadan gift hamper. Many social media users said that sentiments of Muslims were hurt as they perceive Israel to be an aggressor in the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
*Names changed to protect identity