It is our right to protest if someone is unjustly defaming our government and party: Maharashtra Youth Congress
A line of criticism over the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is apparently enough to shut down a restaurant for over three hours. Srinivas Shetty, the owner of ‘Aditi Veg’ in Mumbai, learned it in a hard way on Monday evening.
“As per UPA govt., eating money [2G, Coal, CWG scam] is a necessity & eating food in AC restaurant is a luxury,” was the last line on bills given to customers by the restaurant. This satirical line, criticising the government policy to charge extra taxes on air-conditioned restaurants, didn’t go down too well with the activists of Youth Congress.
Following the agitation by Congress activists on Monday, the restaurant was forced to remain closed for three hours. The activists allowed opening it only after Mr. Shetty apologised and erased the last line from bills.
Despite his expressing regret, Congress activists lodged a defamation complaint against the owner at the Bhoiwada Police station.
The matter was intensified even further after the BJP leader Narendra Modi tweeted about the incident. “Height of Intolerance!” he said on his Twitter handle, about the incident.
“We did not close the restaurant forcefully. We had staged a demonstration outside and police were informed about it in advance. It is our right to protest if someone is unjustly defaming our government and party,” Vishwajit Kadam, president, Maharashtra Youth Congress, told The Hindu.
He said that Mr. Modi should concentrate on his State and the deplorable condition of free speech there, instead of tweeting about matters that he had no knowledge of.
An officer from Bhoiwada police station said that the matter had been put to rest. “We have registered a complaint against him which was filed by Congress workers. The owner has agreed not to print the controversial line,” he said. Despite several attempts, Mr. Shetty was not available for comment.