Enraged over a trenchant message printed on a restaurant’s bill slamming UPA Government for imposing service tax on AC restaurants, Congress workers forced closure of the eatery here.

The Congress workers’ action prompted Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to dub it as the “height of intolerance“.

A group of Congress workers staged a protest outside ’Aditi’ restaurant near KEM Hospital in central Mumbai yesterday and forced it to shut down, police said today.

The Congress workers alleged that the restaurant was issuing bills to customers with a printed message that read: “As per UPA govt eating money (2G, coal, CWG scam) is a necessity and eating food in AC restaurants is a luxury.”

As the protest continued, police reached the spot and subsequently a non-cognizable offence was registered at Bhoiwada Police Station under Section 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the IPC against S Shetty, the owner of the restaurant.

“Shetty apologised to Congress workers saying that he was sorry if he had hurt the sentiments of anybody,” a police officer said.

The restaurant was shut down for some time but reopened later, he said, adding that a police contingent has been deployed at the eatery to maintain peace.

The action by Congress workers drew criticism from Modi, who took to microblogging site Twitter to slam their highhandedness.

“Height of intolerance!”, the BJP’s election campaign committee chief said on his Twitter handle @narendramodi where he also posted a photo of the bill issued by the restaurant.

The Centre has imposed service tax on taxable service provided in restaurants with air — conditioning or central air heating with effect from April 1, 2013.

Earlier, service tax was not levied on air-conditioned restaurants that did not serve liquor.

(This article was published on July 23, 2013)
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