The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Celebration crackers lead to jail

Jammu, Oct. 30: Celebratory crackers at a wedding can land you in jail.

If you donít believe it , ask Sat Pal Mahajan, who spent two hours behind bars last night.

Mahajanís crime was that he was bursting crackers at his sonís wedding. He and his brothers, Madan Lal and D.. Prakash, were arrested and taken to the city police station before being bailed out to rejoin the party.

Mahajan was bursting crackers that sounded like rapid gunfire. With the upsurge in terrorism the city has been witnessing of late, Mahajan had little idea that his celebratory crackers would sent alarm bells about a fidayeen attack.

Shutters went down and almost triggered a stampede in the markets close to Mahajan Hall, where the merry-makers ó oblivious to the panic ó kept on bursting crackers till the police rounded them up.

The police arrested them for violating an October 10 order that says bursting of crackers close to the secretariat can lead to arrest and fine.

The Mahajan Hall at Shalimar Road is hardly 100 metres from the civil secretariat, that is scheduled to re-open for the winter months on Monday.

Jammu deputy superintendent of police D.S. Chalotra took the merry-makers into custody. They were later set free on bail. ďIt was a bailable offence, so they were set free,Ē he said.

The police had to press into action their mobile loudspeaker-fitted vans to calm people telling them it was just crackers and not a militant attack.

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