Bowing to intense pressure from the Jewish community, the management of the controversial Hitler's Cross restaurant in Mumbai's Kharghar area have confirmed that they will change the name of the restaurant. The restaurant remained closed on Thursday, and will reopen on Friday with a new "non-controversial" name.
The restaurant's shutters were down on Thursday and customers were turned back. The huge signboard displaying the name of the restaurant was partially covered with a sheet, ensuring that the word 'Hitler' was not visible.
Speaking to journalists, Puneet Sabhlok, the MD of the restaurant, said, "We have decided to change the name. We understand that the feelings of Jews all over the world have been hurt and we do not want to be responsible for it. We have spoken to Jonathan Solomon, who represents the Indian Jewish Federation, and have given him a written undertaking of changing the name and asserting that we had no intention of hurting anyone. He has also agreed to speak to the Consul Generals of Israel and Germany and inform them of our decision."
But Sablok made sure the hacks would go back for more. "We will announce the name on Friday and only then start doing business. We shut the restaurant today as we are not interested in gaining mileage from any controversy. We haven't yet decided on the new name, but it will be a non-controversial one."
The Jewish community said it was relieved. Naomi Massil, secretary of Bethel Synagogue in Panvel, said she had no words to express her feelings. "I am so happy. On behalf of my community, I would also like to thank and congratulate Puneet Sabhlok for his decision," said Naomi.