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Petition Against US Company For Using Mahatma Gandhi's Image on Beer Cans

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Hyderabad/Washington:  A petition has been filed in a Hyderabad court against a US company for using Mahatma Gandhi's image on beer cans and bottle. The petition filed by an advocate against Connecticut-based New England Brewing Company alleges it has insulted the father of the nation.

The beer brand is called "Gandhi-Bot", which the company says is an intensely hopped double India pale with a blend of three varieties of American Hops.

The petitioner has said that Mahatma Gandhi's image on the alcohol cans and description of the father of the nation by the brewery is highly condemnable and punishable under Indian laws.

The petition is slated to come up for hearing on Monday.

However, Matt Westfall, head brewer and partner at the New England Brewing Company, said the company apologises if the sentiments of Indian people have been hurt. The company claims that its intention was to pay homage and celebrate the apostle of peace and that Gandhi's granddaughter and grandson have expressed their admiration for the label.

"We do apologise if the good people of India find our Gandhi-Bot label offensive. Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a great man who we respect greatly.

"We take great care in creating a product we hope will not be abused in the manner that Mahatma Gandhi spoke of when referencing alcohol," Westfall said in an e-mail response to PTI.

"Aromatic and fully vegetarian, Gandhi-bot is an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love," the company says on its website.

"We hope that not only our product is consumed responsibly with fine food and friends but that they are also inspired to learn more about Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent methods of civil disobedience. So many Indian people here in American love our tribute to the great man," Westfall said.

"Gandhi's granddaughter and grandson have seen the label and have expressed their admiration of the label. We hope that you understand our true intent and respect the method and the freedom we have to show our reverence for Gandhi," he said.

The company's products are not sold internationally.



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