AMC team brings down HITLER in a surprise raid
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In an unusual move, the municipal staff on Tuesday suddenly turned up at the "Hitler" men's wear store in the city's Vastrapur area and tore down fonts from its billboard even as onlookers watched on.
Municipal Commissioner Guruprasad Mohapatra admitted he had ordered his staff to remove the name which was in "extremely bad taste". "We have no legal basis for today's action, but the store's name was in extremely bad taste. The Israeli Consul-General wrote me a letter complaining about it. I also received hundreds of emails from different people."
Taken aback since they had not received any notice, the store's owners along with their lawyer rushed to lodge an FIR with the local police station. When that was disallowed, they submitted a complaint against "unidentified persons of AMC" at the Police Commissioner's office for destruction of property and forcibly changing their store's name.
On Tuesday noon, a team of municipal staff arrived at the Advait shopping complex, where the store is located, and ordered the board removed.
"It happened so fast that we did not have time to register a complaint with the police," said Rajesh Shah, one of the owners who was forced by the AMC staff to climb up a ladder and pull down the white fonts from the black board.
Within half-an-hour, the white H-I-T-L-E-R letters had been yanked off, but the swastika that dotted the "i" and tiny, almost imperceptible cursive letters "I'm not", stuck in front of the Nazi dictator's surname after widespread protests last month, remained.
Soon afterward, civic officials left and Manish Chandani, also one of the owners, zoomed off on his motorcycle to lodge an FIR with the local police station.
"They should have sent us a legal notice. They cannot suddenly come and destroy private property like this. We have registered the trademark with the central government and the registration of the store's name is pending with the civic authorities," Shah said, adding that officials in the shops and establishment department of the AMC had asked him to rename the store.