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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Lifting ban on dance bars could see rise in crime: Maharastra govt

Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, July 16, 2013
First Published: 23:18 IST(16/7/2013) | Last Updated: 02:04 IST(17/7/2013)

Although the decision of the Supreme Court might have dealt a big blow to the moral high ground being upheld by the government, there is fear if the ban is done away with, it may see the return of many illegal activities in the state.

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When the ban had been imposed in 2005, the state government had claimed that they not only saved women from being exploited and the youth from going bankrupt, but also curbed crime in the city.

“Moral policing was not the only reason we had imposed the ban. Several issues including the involvement of police and crimes at dance bars were discussed before we had moved this amendment in 2005,” said home minister RR Patil.

However, those representing women working at dance bars felt that it was at the expense of livelihoods. “With the Supreme Court order, the government will no longer be able to maintain a moral high ground at the cost of the livelihoods of bar girls,” said Varsha Kale who was representing dance bar girls.

Government sources said that several police officials in the middle and lower rungs would park a large part of their money in these dance bars. Many of these officials would also seek postings in certain parts of the city to earn money from these dance bars. Further, owners of these dance bars would exploit these women by not giving them their due and trafficking them on the sly.

Lawyer Flavia Agnes who fought the case in 2006 on behalf of dance bar associations said it was important that the government finds a way to protect bar dancers without ridding them of their livelihood.

“Presently, these women stand the risk of being exploited since they have no security. Instead, the government should work to protect them without taking away their bread and butter,” Agnes said.


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