Reopening of dance bars in Maharashtra could promote illicit sex and drug abuse… CM Fadnavis is a distressed man!

The reopening of the dance bars in Maharashtra has rattled chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. The pot-bellied CM, hours after Supreme Court’s interim order, lifting the ban on dance performances in bars, vowed to make life hell for the murky entertainment business. The SC has ordered regulation, and not ban. He intends to start by levying heavy-duty licence fee, coupled with stringent timing norms to regulate dance bars. The Government also intends to appeal the decision.

Maharashtra, CM Fadnavis

The Congress and the NCP combine, which banned dance bars in the first place, are backing the BJP Government, a rarity most welcome.

What women had to go through because of the ban for all these years must have featured as a major factor in deciding their fate. Many had to wait tables at places they earlier danced at, many said they had to get into prostitution to support a living. There were other sad tales…

Maharashtra, CM Fadnavis

In 2005, the call to prohibit dance bars saw around 2,500 bars in the state, including 350 licensed ones such as Ellora, Topaz and Deepa in Mumbai, banned. Bars were either closed or turned into orchestra joints and family restaurants.

But there are worse consequences when they do operate, there are nasty realities. Women dancing seductively, gyrating in scantily-clad cloths, setting the mood for what was to follow… customers retreating into the privacy of bedrooms tailor-made for such occasions…

Maharashtra, CM Fadnavis

I visited quite a few dance bars in Mumbai in early 2000, not to quench my sexual thirst, but to observe the dark world in its pure, primeval version. On the surface, everything seemed neat and clean, but underneath the facade existed a world where free drugs and sex was the norm.

Tragically, women suffer either way. There is prostitution, whether or not the dance bars operate. Drugs circulate almost freely…

Maharashtra, CM Fadnavis

The most effective solution would be to ensure there are stricter checks and balances. Erring bars should be penalised beyond their means so that it acts as a deterrent. CCTV cameras should be installed at all entry and exit points of all bars…