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Garments printed with Arabic letters cause stir in Malad

Mumbai: Tension loomed over Malwani yesterday, after hundreds of residents from the local Muslim community swarmed outside a garment unit to protest against its products that had “hurt their sentiments”.

The offending products women’s nightwear inscribed with the Arabic alphabet were declared derogatory and insensitive to Muslims, and were seized by the police, in order to the control the situation.

According to the police, a Gujarat-based company had sent the consignment of nightwear to the garment workshop in Malad (West) for tailoring, after which the clothes would have been exported to countries in the Middle East.

A passer-by, who had spotted the material with the Arabic print, went and alerted other residents, and an angry crowd soon gathered outside. Their main objection was to the clothes being printed with the letters from the Arabic alphabet.

“It is not acceptable that Arabic will be used for such garments, which ladies wear at night. It is a completely shameless act, and it has hurt us to see such clothes,” said one of the protestors.

By the afternoon, around 3 pm, the situation had worsened, especially after the crowd learned that the garments belonged to a Gujarat-based company owned by man named Tinesh Modi. The name seemed to add salt to their wound, with fears that the company had targeted their religion and community.

A local resident said, “Just because he shares his name with the prime minister, is he now going to misuse our sacred language and insult our religion?” Within a few hours, however, the Malwani police arrived on the scene, seized all 1,200 pieces of clothing from the workshop, and detained the manager of the unit, Manubhai Keshur.

According to an official from the Malwani police station, “We have taken Manubhai, the man who runs the garment unit, into our custody and recorded his statement. The Gujarat-based owner, Tinesh Modi, will be asked to record his statement as well.”
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