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Residents protest, a la Munna Bhai

india Updated: Sep 21, 2006 01:30 IST
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TRUTH CAN sometimes be stranger than fiction. And who better than the residents of Rana Pratap Marg could testify. About 100 residents, inspired by the acts of actor Sanjay Dutt, who finds a novel way of protest just by presenting a rose to his tormentor in Hindi blockbuster Lage Raho Munna bhai, made a similar attempt.

Sporting Gandhi caps, they presented Daljit Singh, a liquor shop owner, a rose urging him to shift his model liquor shop from the residential area. However, the end result was not that inspiring as quite a few of them landed in the police station for the attempt. Singh lodged a complaint with the police that around 30 persons barged into his shop and caused ruckus. Subsequently, the police arrived and took Singh and the residents in custody.

“Trying to solve things the Gandhian way, this is the first lesson we got,” said one of residents. The protesters were detained by the police for nearly two hours.

Shiv Shankar Lakhani, who led the protest, said they had organised a peaceful march against the liquor shop that had not been shifted despite orders of the High Court. “We were certainly inspired by the movie Lage Raho Munna Bhai, which has shown how a flower could change hearts,” he said. 

Sandeep Seth, another protester, said around 1500 flowers were given to lawyers and others before handing over a memorandum to the additional city magistrate. “Since the shop owner is not going to change, we are expecting it from the district administration,” said Seth.

The arrest evoked large-scale protests in the area, where even women and children took to the street shouting slogans against the liquor shops. They claimed that the protesters had created no ruckus and were only trying to give the owner flowers as shown in the movie.

Singh, however, stuck to his allegations. “There are other liquor shops too in the area, why only I am being targeted,” he asked. It may be mentioned that the High Court had directed the Excise Department to shut liquor shops that were situated within 100 metres of religious places, residential areas, and educational institutions.              

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