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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

No shame if women dancers entertain: UP MLA

IANS  Panaji,, September 11, 2013
First Published: 21:42 IST(11/9/2013) | Last Updated: 21:46 IST(11/9/2013)

There is no shame in women dancers entertaining you, arrested and now-on-bail Samajwadi Party (SP) legislator Mahendra Singh Wednesday claimed, justifying his patronage of a Goa dance bar.

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According to him, women dancers invariably perform in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar from mundans (Hindu head-shaving ceremony) to marriages.

Mahendra Singh was suspended from the SP after the police arrested him along with five others from a hotel doubling up as a dance bar in the heart of the Goa capital Aug 27.

Police said the six women rescued from the "mujra" party were prostitutes brought from Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh. "Mujra" is a form of dance originated by north Indian "tawaif" (courtesans) during the Mughal era.

"I am saying it again. In UP (Uttar Pradesh) and Bihar, women dancers perform on every occasion. From the time of 'mundan', engagement and marriage, we have women who dance to music. Why should I be ashamed of it?" a defiant Mahendra Singh told IANS, a few days after being released on bail.

"I have been falsely accused in Goa. The charge of prostitution is completely false. We did not do anything with those women. They were there only to dance for a birthday party of my friend, Sanjay (Agarwal)," he said.

The police raid followed a complaint by Congress legislator Pandurang Madkaikar, who lives alongside the hotel-turned-dance bar.

Bedsides Mahendra Singh, police picked up two other Samajwadi party workers - Jaipratap Singh and Dharmendra Pratap - along with Babu Ghanta, a pimp, who the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged has links with Congress leaders.

Mahendra Singh now claims his arrest was a fallout of two rival political parties slugging it out in Goa.

"I was just caught in between the two parties. When a Congress MLA complained, the BJP government went overboard. They made me a scapegoat in the process. My party has suspended me, pending an inquiry and my image is tarnished," he said.

A police official said at the time of the raid, the arrested were sitting on mattresses while the girls were dancing to Bollywood songs in the centre of the room.

"We raided the place at around 1 a.m. on Tuesday. It was clearly a 'mujra' which was happening there, with the girls dancing and the accused sitting with wads of money and alcohol," the official said.

Incidentally, the raid on a dance bar came after Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in his Aug 15 address affirmed his commitment not to allow dance bars in the state. Only days earlier BJP vice president Wilfred Mesquita gave a thumbs up to the dance bar culture.


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