Q) People have supported the SC decision slamming the government over the dance bar ban. Would you agree that you are taking away their livelihood and are trying to become the moral police?
Those who are opposing the ban and questioning it have double standards. Many of them are pseudo intellectuals who will only argue about such issues when they do not have to deal with it
directly. Will they say the same thing if a dance bar comes up below their building, or their relative wants to become a bar dancer? I don't think so.
Q) One of the grounds considered by the SC was discrimination - the bias in giving out dance bar licences to 3- or 5-star hotels.
According to our information, only eight five-star hotels were allotted dance bar licences and none of them have used it since the ban has come into place. In fact, five of them have even come ahead to surrender their licence. But we are ready to relook at it and bring a ban on dance bar licences across the board.
Q) Did the government not support bar girls or rehabilitate them?
That is not true. The Women and Child department conducted workshops to give them training. But no one turned up after that.
What benefits were the bar owners giving these women? None of them were registered with the labour ministry. We are still ready to train them and give them a better life.
Q) Why have you not done anything about about alcoholism, drugs, prostitution or dance forms such as tamashas?
The issue of dance bars was raised by the Opposition and concerns of law and order, crime and crumbling of social structure were raised. No one complained about any other issues. It was not a personal agenda of moral policing. As far as tamashas are concerned, the dancers are far away on the stage and there is no alcohol served.
Q) What is the government's next course of action?
Our law and judiciary department is consulting distinguished lawyers including Gopal Subramaniam, Harish Salvi and our advocate general. Then senior officials from the law and judiciary, home department and police will give me a report, which I will put to the legislature. We are considering filing a review petition suggesting amendment in the law.