Bars mar peace of JP Nagar residents

Customers gamble on roads, attack women and indulge in brawls

When Suma (name changed) was on her way back home at 9 pm Tuesday, she was in for a shock. As she turned towards a lane, a mob of drunken men attacked her without provocation, chased her till the end of the road, before she escaped from them and rushed into her house. She later lodged a complaint at the JP Nagar police station.

Revelry and attacks on passersby have become a routine affair as a bar is located amid residential buildings at 18th Cross, JP Nagar, VI Phase near Siddeshwara cinema, the residents complained.

Three months ago, a watchman of an apartment in the lane was stabbed by drunk hooligans when he objected to them urinating in front of the apartment. An FIR was lodged and the watchman quit his job out of fear for his life.

The residents have been enduring the nuisance for a decade now, as shopowners in the locality have refused to take responsibility and the police have failed to act. “We have repeatedly given complaints to the police and no action has been taken so far. We have also written to the Home and Excise ministers. It has yielded no results,” a resident said.
The residents complained that customers consumed liquor on the pavement outside the bar.

Suma said many of them gamble on the road blocking the way, park their vehicles in front the shop and consume liquor in their vehicle. “Not a day passes without us witnessing quarrels of drunkards who hurled lewd abuses at passersby. Women are harassed by the miscreants,” she said. Just two days ago, a few drunken men threw cigarette butts at a woman residing in an apartment next to the bar.

This and another bar on the very next road are located within 100 metres of Frank Public School, which is in violation of the rules. The Karnataka State Excise Act (1965) in Section 15 (A) specifies that no person shall consume liquor in any public place unless consumption of liquor in ‘public place’ means any public office or any place of public amusement or resort.

The law also states that a police officer (not below the rank of a sub-inspector) shall keep such shops closed for such period as he may think necessary, in case of any untoward incidents taking place in the vicinity of bars.

However, some policemen on patrol told Deccan Herald that they did not have the authority to order the closure of the bar. Inspector B S Angadi denied the residents’ claim that they had filed several complaints with the JP Nagar police station (copies of which are available with Deccan Herald).

However, Angadi admitted that the police are aware of the nuisance caused to the residents due to the presence of the bar.

“In fact, I have written to the Excise Commissioner bringing it to his notice. For reasons unknown, the bar owner has been successful in getting the licence renewed every year,” he said. The police have identified the area as sensitive and intensified patrol.

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