Cheerleaders will not be banned during IPL cricket matches in Mumbai but they may have to shed their skimpy outfits with police on Friday warning of action against the organisers if their shows are found to be vulgar.
As the police cleared the air on whether the scantily-clad cheergirls will be allowed to perform in a Navi Mumbai stadium on April 27 by imposing some conditions, the 'ban cheerleaders' chant grew loud with West Bengal joining Maharashtra in targeting the dancing beauties.
Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu also joined the chorus of protests saying the dance was a "distraction and nonsense" as a debate raged over whether US-style cheerleaders had a role during cricket matches in the country.
"The girls are merely artistes who perform as per the instructions of organisers," Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Ramrao Wagh said, adding that a performance license has been granted to the organisers of the match between Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers to be held at Nerul's D Y Patil stadium.
In the event of the cheerleaders indulging in obscenity, Wagh said, the "license holders" (the organisers) will be prosecuted under various provisions of the Bombay Police Act for indecency in a public place and breach of license terms.
Wagh said the show should not be vulgar or obscene nor offend the dignity of women. He however said there have been no instructions from the government.
West Bengal Sports Minister Subash Chakravarty said the cheerleaders had no role and were out of context during sporting encounters and there was no need to import Western culture. Chakravarty, who was supported by PWD Minister Kshiti Goswami(RSP and Water Investigation Minister Nandgopal Bhttacharya(CPI), said he will take up the issue with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya.
The controversy over the cheerleaders figured in the Maharashtra Legislative Council for the second day today with the government saying it would examine whether to put a halt to their dance shows. Deputy Chairman Vasant Davkhare wanted a ban on the shows.
Minister of state for Home Siddharam Mhetre said that the government would examine the issue whether steps can be taken to stop such performances.
The issue was raised by Neelam Gorhe (Shiv Sena) who said that cricket matches had nothing to do with the dances of cheerleaders.
"Globalisation does not mean that we have to imbibe western influences," she said.
Gorhe called for restrictions on such performances while allowing smooth conduct of cricket matches.
Davkhare who was in the chair also agreed that performances by cheerleaders, had nothing to do with cricket matches and called for stopping it.
Mhetre had on Friday told reporters that the government will not allow the cheerleaders to perform as their acts are "absolutely obscene" and wondered why the organisers required "semi nude" women at cricket matches.
The minister had said strict action will be taken if the cheerleaders violated the norms of decency in their attire.