A day after a case was registered against popular pub Goregaon Social for hurting religious sentiments, the Mumbai police said it will record statements of the pub’s employees and its owner.
On Wednesday, activists associated with the Watchdog Foundation approached the Dindoshi police station with a complaint that the interior decoration of the pub’s Goregaon outlet was “outrageous and blasphemous”. While its owner., Riyaaz Amlani, is outside the country, officials said they were in touch with representatives of the pub. “We will issue summons to Amlani as soon as he returns to the country. Everyone responsible in the case will be questioned,” said an officer, not wishing to be named.
The complaint, by Nicholas Almeida, said, “The bar area has a backdrop of a Tabernacle set up. Even the seating arrangement in the bar is that of church pews. The messages inscribed on the benches are from the Holy Bible. The pub has depictions of Jesus holding a leather bag, Mother Mary having a chain in her hand instead of a rosary while Moses is holding a computer tablet.”
Soon after the complaint was filed, Amlani issued an apology to the Archdiocese of Bombay, which said it accepted it, but would monitor the pub to ensure religious sentiments are respected.
Amlani’s apology, made public by the Archdiocese, read: “Goregaon Social’s design was meant as a satirical statement against the ever growing trend of overt consumerism and the culture of advertising where people are made to feel inadequate and unhappy unless they buy more and more things. In no way was there any intent on part social to disrespect or hurt sentiments that are sacred to any community. On the contrary it is call to move away from the pursuit of material things and instead focus on the spiritual pursuits. The intended message is that money and things cannot buy you happiness. We have already removed all imagery the organisation considered offensive, and further commit to ensure we do all we can to ensure no one’s sentiments are offended.”
Responding to the apology, the Archdiocese said, “While we accept the apology in the spirit in which it was tendered, we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the religious sentiments of all communities are respected in both word and action. The message the ‘Social’ group was apparently trying to put forward certainly did not call for the decor used and could have been conveyed in other ways. This has been pointed out to them.”
Officials said the pub management has been asked to submit a set of documents and licences for verification. An officer said the licences will be studied to see if all legal steps were followed to set up the bar.
Meanwhile, a petition was started to shut down the pub on change.org by Guardians United . The petition, addressed to the CM, BMC commissioner and the National Human Rights Commission, had 8,516 supporters till Thursday evening.