A 29-year-old business owner was arrested by the Virudhunagar police on Sunday, after his sales gimmick led to unprecedented crowding and violation of pandemic rules. Zahir Hussain had advertised that one plate of biryani will cost Rs 10 in his new shop in the district on its inaugural day.
According to reports, Zahir Hussain was opening a new biryani shop in Aruppukottai on Sunday and he had advertised that one plate of biryani would cost just Rs 10 on Sunday for the customers. The poster he had put up, publicising this offer said that the Rs 10-a plate biryani would be available only for two hours between 11 am and 1 pm on Sunday. By 11 am, people had reportedly started gathering in front of his shop without masks or physical distancing between each other. The crowd around the shop naturally spilled onto the road near it.
The shop had prepared around 2500 packets of biryani to sell on Sunday, in anticipation of a grand reception. However, by the time the shop sold 500 packets, the police arrived and chased the crowd, which by that time had started blocking the traffic on the road, away. Two policemen were also stationed in front of the shop to prevent further crowding of people. Zahir was then taken into custody.
Meanwhile, a police officer in charge of the issue reportedly arranged for the remaining packets to be distributed to those in need, like the poor and persons with disabilities. The police also registered an FIR under various sections of the IPC including 188 [Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant], 269 [Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life], and 278 [Making atmosphere noxious to health] and the Epidemic Diseases Act and the Disaster Management Act. The police also warned Zahir to not attempt such gimmicks amid the pandemic and granted him station bail.