At Karachi Bakery in Bengaluru’s Indiranagar, the piece of cloth that masked half its signboard is gone, but tension remains.
The tricolour now flutters above the signboard and a new poster spells out the bakery’s provenance.
Inside, customers breathe in the aroma of fresh cookies and pastries.
On Friday night, nine men turned up, questioning the staff about the propriety of “Karachi" in its name, prompting the management to cover up its signboard and announce its history to the uninitiated.
Karachi Bakery’s unwelcome visitors had arrived after the previous week’s terrorist attack in Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed 40 paramilitary troops, triggering grief, outrage and misdirected fury. Pakistan-based outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for the attack.
On 100 Feet Road, where the bakery is located, a state transport bus stops, as its driver wants to take a photo of the bakery.
“After all that commotion, look at them continue to run their business with the same name!" he says. He thinks the bakery, famous for its fruit biscuits, is somehow related to Karachi in Pakistan.
According to its poster, the bakery chain was founded by Khanchand Ramnani, who migrated to India during Partition. Its first outlet was opened in 1953 in Hyderabad and is “absolutely Indian by heart".
The nine people who call themselves “patriots" had gone to the store on Friday night and asked the staff if retaining the name “Karachi" at such times was “absolutely necessary". All nine were arrested and released on bail later.
In videos of the incident that went viral, the people are seen asking the staff not to hurt sentiment.
“We are patriots and (we) asked them to prove if they were too," said Srihari, one of the people booked in the case.
In Bengaluru, the bakery staff remain tight-lipped. The police said there was no force or threats, although the police complaint states otherwise.
“We were afraid. They were in the bakery for only some time, asking us to change the name. But we are known by the same name," said a staff member at another Karachi Bakery branch in Bengaluru, requesting not to be named.
Shaswati Das from Delhi contributed to this story.