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Quota stir: Dance bars to raise funds

Mumbai Bar Owners Association will now hold shows to aid the agitators.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 17:50 IST

Anti-reservation protesters in the country have found support from a section of the city's bar dancers with the Mumbai Bar Owners Association (MBOA) deciding to hold shows to raise money for the cause.

The Mumbai Bar Dancers Association, the union of the bar dancers, who
were thrown out of jobs following the ban on the city's dance bars, is not supporting the move.

But the MBOA is continuing with plans to begin shows across the city from early June to raise funds for students and doctors agitating against the Government's policy to give reservations to other backward classes in higher educational institutions.

MBOA president Manjeet Singh Sethi said: "When we and the bar girls protested it was seen as a poor man's burden. Now that even doctors and postgraduate students are being subjected to pressure, we have decided to support them."

The MBOA is thinking of roping in actress Rakhi Sawant, booked for obscenity while performing as brand ambassador of a major beer brand in Maharashtra's Kolhapur district.

"We hope to raise around Rs 4,00,000-Rs 5,00,000 per show and will hold at least three shows per month," said Sethi.

The state government's blanket ban on dance bars last year left about 75,000 bar dancers out of jobs and forced many to either go to other cities or enter prostitution.

"We want to tell society that the sole intention of the Government is to muffle dissidence and crush the voice of the people," Sethi said.

"The anti-quota protesters will need money and we are ready to organise shows for them free of cost. We will also organise signature campaigns in their favour in front of our bars," he declared.

However, the Mumbai Bar Dancers Association has decided to keep away.

"We were approached by Sethi. But we turned them down as we do not want to divert attention as of now," said Varsha Kale, president of the association said.

"Our children are too young to understand the dynamics of caste politics. Moreover, we ourselves are in a bad shape and do not want to worsen the situation for ourselves," Kale noted.