Mumbai's iconic Karachi bakery on Thursday pulled down its shutter due to losses in business. Last month, the bakery got embroiled in a controversy after a section of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Shiv Sena workers staged a demonstration, objecting to its "Pakistani name".
In fact, MNS leader Haji Saif Shaikh, who led a protest to Karachi Bakery demanding to change the name, has claimed responsibility for the shutdown of an almost 70-year-old bakery.
Shaikh in a tweet wrote, "After a massive protest on Karachi Bakery for its name #Karachi led by Vice President of MNS - @mnshajisaif Karachi bakery finally closes its only shop in Mumbai".
After massive protest on Karachi Bakery for its name #Karachi led by Vice President of MNS - @mnshajisaif karachi bakery finally closes its only shop in Mumbai.@RajThackeray Saheb@mnsadhikrut@karachi_bakerypic.twitter.com/67KQ0p30mI— Haji Saif Shaikh (@mnshajisaif) March 1, 2021
But soon after Shaikh's tweet, MNS gave an official statement saying the party does not stand with Shaikh. MNS officially said, "This is not at all the official stand of MNS. So, all please take note of it." Another MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande said, "Please note this is not the official stand of MNS".
Additionally, the owner of the oldest Mumbai baker, Rameshwar Waghmare also said that "changing the name of the bakery" was not the reason for the shutdown. He added that they shut the shop because their old lease agreement lapsed. He said that the landlord demanded a higher sum of rent and which they couldn't pay as the pandemic terribly hit their business.
A very close family friend of Karachi Bakery's owner also said, "Karachi Bakery owners were facing huge financial losses. Also, during the lockdown, the loss just increased. The rent in Bandra West where the bakery was located was also very high which the owners could not afford. Also, the business was not giving them any profit. They were spending more than profit. We were in touch with them, they told us a few months back itself that soon they are going to shut the bakery. Now the workers of the bakery are without jobs. This has nothing to do with the MNS protest. Even after the protest, they were never going to change the name of the shop. It is just because of financial issues they have shut Karachi Bakery."
Waghmare added the owner will decide whether to rent a new space or allow the brand to lapse in Mumbai. Currently, an ice cream parlour has come up in its place. The Karachi Bakery is part of the Hyderabad-based chain run by a Sindhi Hindu migrant family, the Ramnanis. It has has branches all over India.