Did Muslims take over the Quest Mall and demand food & gifts?
People going to mall to beat the heat due to power outage is twisted with a communal angle.
This is the much hyped Quest Mall; Sanjeev Goenka’s dream project which showcases London high street brands. Currently taken over by lungis. Question is can Goenkas do anything about it?
A video is being shared in social media claiming that Quest Mall in Kolkata is swarmed by people from nearby slum, who are from “one particular religion” with an insinuation that they are Muslims and some posts outright mention that the people who entered the Quest Mall are Muslims and they are demanding free food and free gift for Ramzan. This has been shared by many supporters of the BJP including controversial film maker Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri, who cancelled his book signing at the mall citing security reasons & moved it to a different location.
This is to inform that due to security reasons the venue of book signing of #UrbanNaxals has been shifted from Quest Mall to Starmark Book Shop, South City Mall.
I’m informed that since Quest Mall is a Muslim Area it’s not safe. The tragedy of modern Bengal. pic.twitter.com/rp7KOWpwtt
— Vivek Ranjan Agnihotri (@vivekagnihotri) April 20, 2023
BJP Bengal’s functionary Keya Gosh had used the word ‘lungi’ to denote Muslims, which is a derogatory slang term. Abhijit Majumder, the editor-in-chief of Earshot, used the word faithful in quotes to insinuate that the Muslims have taken over the mall. BJP’s IT wing head Amit Malviya too had made similar allegations. Similar posts can be seen here, here, here, here and here.
What’s the truth?
When we did a keyword search, we found an article from the Telegraph published on 18 April 2023, containing similar images from the viral video which states that the residents of Radha Gobindo Saha Lane and Dilkhusha Street had entered the mall as there was a power outage in the area from around 6PM on Sunday (16 April 2023).
There have been protests due to the frequent power cuts caused by the tripping of distribution boxes, transformers and cable faults and the demand for electricity had shot up to record levels on 18 April 2023, according to a report from the Times of India. Moreover, the temperature in Kolkata have been crossing the 40 degrees Celsius mark in the past few days.
Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) too have addressed the power cuts and requested the consumers to use the electric appliances judiciously. It is interesting to note that, both the CESC and the Quest Mall is owned by the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group (RPSG Group).
— CESC Limited (@CESCLimited) April 17, 2023
So, the people in the neighbourhood area of the mall came to the mall as there were severe power outages and the temperatures were soaring. This has been given a communal spin by claiming that Muslims have taken over the mall and were demanding food and gifts for Ramzan.
According to an article from the Times of India dated April 20, 2023; The Quest Mall management had filed a complaint with the Cyber Crime Cell of the Kolkata Police against the “deliberate misrepresentation” of the incident to stoke communal tension. The mall’s Vice-President Sanjeev Mehra had described the incident humanitarian one, although entry into the mall after the closing hours undesirable.
The people living the neighborhood area of the Quest Mall in Kolkata visited the mall to get some respite from the excessive heat caused by soaring temperatures, coupled with severe power outages. This has been given a communal colour.