Members from various political parties, including the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), came together against the reopening of dance bars in the state, at a protest organised by the Dance Bar Virodhi Manch at Azad Maidan on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court had lifted the ban on dance bars on July 16.
Vinod Tawde, BJP member and leader of opposition in the state legislative council, vowed not to let dance bars reopen in the state and promised to come up with a new act.
“The Supreme Court had lifted the ban owing to two reasons– that the ban was not applicable to all bars and hotels, and that it was the source of livelihood for many women - we will address both these issues and come out with a new act,” said Tawde.
“We have to keep political issues aside and work together against the exploitation of women in this trade. We will not allow a single dance bar to open in the state,” he said.
Members of the women’s wings of various political parties said that dance bars had led to severe exploitation of women, particularly minors, in the past and had tainted the culture of the state, because of which the government had imposed the ban on girls dancing in bars in 2005.
“Dance bars have ruined several families and have corrupted the youth. They should not be allowed to open again,” said Janet D’souza, president of Mumbai Pradesh Mahila Congress.
“While everyone was discussing the loss of livelihood of the bar girls, nobody gave a thought to the plight of women whose families had been disrupted because of these bars,” said Chitra Wagh, city president, women’s wing of the Nationalist Congress Party.
“It is encouraging that all parties have come together to ban dance bars,” she said.
Varsha Vidya Vilas, convenor of the Dance Bar Virodhi Manch, which comprises more than 60 non-profit groups, said the organisation will present a draft law to the government to ban dance bars and to offer alternative livelihood options to the girls who worked as bar dancers.