Truth behind biryani shop picture gone viral 

The picture that has gone viral on social media. The phone numbers have been blurred to save the shop owners from further harassment

In the backdrop of the carcass meat racket, a photograph of a Salt Lake-based biriyani shop selling bananas has gone viral. But the picture does not tell the true story and the biriyani shop owners, who are receiving hundreds of calls a day from people poking fun at the incident, are, well, going bananas.

The picture shows the facade of a Haji Biriyani outlet in RA Block. This is in Sukantanagar, near Chingrihata. But instead of biryani handis being laid out, a lungi-clad man sits on the ground outside, selling fruits and vegetables. Bananas hang from the top, gourds lean against the wall and more fruits are seen stored inside the shop.

The picture tends to imply that after the carcass meat scandal came to light, customers have stopped buying chicken and mutton biryani and that the restaurant has had to switch to selling fruits and vegetables.

“Nothing could be further from the truth!” cries Abdullah Sidiqui, one of the owners of Haji Biriyani. “This picture misrepresents facts and defames us.”

Sidiqui sits at the RA 304 branch of Haji Biriyani. The outlet in the picture is of RA 663. “Our RA 304 stall is about a year old and business is thriving. We had opened a second outlet in RA 663 but downed shutters five months ago.”

He says the RA 663 branch was taken on rent and that since the landlord wasn’t returning their security deposit money, they hadn’t bothered to remove the board bearing their name from outside the premises. “The landlord said he didn’t have the money so he decided to raise funds gradually by renting the space out to a fruit and vegetable seller. So for the last few months someone has been selling bananas outside the premises that still has our board,” says Sidiqui. “It has nothing to do with the carcass racket.”

But whoever clicked the picture and posted it on social media did not care to find out this backstory. Others found it funny and started circulating it widely on WhatsApp and Facebook.

Hundreds of prank calls

The picture being circulated clearly mentions two phone numbers for home delivery orders. “People are calling those numbers night and day to ask if we are the biryani shop that is selling bananas! Our phones don’t stop ringing. Before we can cut one call the next comes in. I’ve even got calls from Rajasthan! Fed up, we’ve had to keep our phones switched off since last Thursday,” Sidiqui said on Saturday.

The phone numbers are the personal numbers of Sidiqui and his father and so both are now out of reach for their family, friends and customers, thus missing out on genuine biriyani orders too. “We source our meat from reliable markets and though our traditional bestseller is the Rs 50 Egg-Potato Biryani, our Rs 70 Chicken Biryani is selling too,” Sidiqui assures.

He adds that they may remove the board bearing their name from the fruit shop soon, whether or not they get back the security deposit from the landlord. “I won’t spare the person who did this to us. Whoever did this has acted very irresponsibly.”

Did you see this photo (to the right) on social media?

Write to The Telegraph Salt Lake, 6 Prafulla Sarkar Street, Calcutta 700001 or email to saltlake@abpmail.com


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