In its first year in Maharashtra, the popular Sunburn festival has run into trouble with rightwing Hindutva organisations including the Shiv Sena raising objections to it while the BJP-led state government says there is “nothing unethical” about the music fest.
The state tourism ministry on Friday made it clear that it has offered “non-financial” support to the event in order to attract tourism. After being held for nine years in Goa, the 10th edition of the electronic dance music (EDM) event is scheduled to be held at Kesnand near Pune from December 28 to 31.
According to minister of state for tourism Jaykumar Rawal, it was on the invitation of the state government that the Sunburn organisers decided to hold the festival in Pune. The minister said no illegal practices would be allowed at the event. “What is not permissible under the law will not be allowed at Sunburn or any other festival,” Rawal said.
The Sanatan Sanstha, the Hindu Janjagriti Samiti and the Shiv Sena have objected to the organisers getting space free for “unethical practices”. The outfits have alleged that people participating in the festival freely consume drugs, the reason why it was shifted out of Goa.
Shalaka Sahasrabuddhe of Sanatan Sanstha said, “The Goa government banned Sunburn due to its obscene nature. Now that they have shifted to Pune, we will oppose them here.”
Shiv Sena MP Shivajirao Adhalrao Patil also wrote to Pune rural police as well as the district admission requesting them not to issue permissions to the Sunburn festival organisers. Patil said, “The history of the Sunburn speaks of blatant drug abuse and vulgarity. It is unfortunate that the festival, which has been denied permission by Goa government, has gathered support from the state.”
The organisers — Percept — clarified that no illegal practices take place at the event. “There is no place for narcotic substances at Sunburn. Besides, strong police presence will be keeping close eye through 200 CCTV cameras at the venue,” said Manuj Agarwal, CEO, Percept. He added that to come out of the negative perception that the organisers faced in Goa, they decided to shift venue. Villagers of Kesnand, where festival will be held, have convened a gram sabha on Monday to discuss whether to give the go-ahead for the event.
Forest dept complains against event contractor
The forest department has filed a complaint against a contractor, who illegally carried out digging activity on forest land to provide easy access to the site in Kesnand village where Sunburn festival is to be held. The forest officials have seized two poclain machines owned by the contractor.
About the festival
Sunburn is a four-day-long electronic dance music festival organised during the day
Started in 2007, the festival for nine years was held in Goa with around 4.5 lakh people participating in it every year
This years, organisers shifted venue to Kesnand near Pune
It will be held from December 28 to 31 on a 50-acre ground with 15,000 people expected to attend it each day
Many right-wing organisations including Shiv Sena, Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Janjagriti Samiti, are opposing the event saying it offers free ground for consumption of narcotic substances and vulgarity
But the state tourism department has offered “non-financial” support to the event.