Cops outside Matoshree get free food

Maratha Darbar, a restaurant in Kalanagar, has been giving free food to the 4,000 police personnel deployed outside Matoshree for the past two days.

"On Thursday night, some policemen asked for water. Later, a few others asked for medication as some of them were feeling unwell. We decided to offer them food. Being a Sena follower, I wanted to do my bit," said Sharad Shelar, co-owner of Maratha Darbar.

No official arrangement has been made for food and water for police deployed outside the Thackeray residence and they have no clear brief on how long security is likely to continue.

"We didn't bother we are missing Diwali at home because our duty is our festival. But the policemen are tired. Every place in this area is shut and there is no source of food and water. We should at least be provided water," said a constable, who did not wish to be named.

Maratha Darbar, which serves vegetarian food, has discarded its regular menu to prepare basic meals to feed the police personnel.

Breakfast was a simple, non-greasy affair. Regular meals comprised rice, daal, chapati, vegetables, khichdi and papad. "We are not designing any specific menu but have ensured they are adequately fed as they have to stand for long hours," said Shelar.

The kitchen in two days prepared 7,000 meal plates. With a staff of 30, including kitchen staff of seven, the restaurant usually churns out 2,000 plates a day.

"The requirement is more for the force and our staff are a bit overworked. But I have been getting calls from Shiv Sena supporters who have come to the restaurant and are helping in the kitchen," Shelar added. "We have decided to feed them till deployment continues."

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