Mangalore police forced women dancing at a discothèque of a three-Star hotel to leave on Saturday night, allegedly at the behest of the Bajrang Dal, a right-wing organisation accused of pushing radical Hinduism and moral policing.
Police refuted the allegation, saying the organisers of the party at the hotel did not have necessary clearances.
Still, the Bajrang Dal’s Mangalore-based state president Sharan Pumpwell praised police for their prompt action and said activists of his outfit were waiting outside
during the raid. “Police went inside and asked the girls to leave. We thank Mangalore police for their action. Earlier, they were not cooperating with us but that has changed in the past few months.”
Referring to the January 2009 pub attack, where women were molested and beaten by Sri Rama Sene activists for partying, he said: “We are criticised when we take law into our own hands to save our women. This time, we followed the law and complained to police about the immoral activities.”
“Dance parties are organised by the drug and sex mafia. Women dancing in front of hundreds of unknown men is against Indian culture.”
Mangalore police commissioner S Murugan contested Pumpwell’s comments, saying the event organisers did not have liquor permit as well as the permission for DJ music.
Police sources said the crackdown was necessary because underage revellers were dancing but denied that only women were asked to leave.
Photos given to Hindustan Times by one of the organisers clearly show only men having a good time on the dance floor. The photos were taken between 8.26pm and 9.07pm, much after the police raid.
According to a reveller who had gone with his wife and children, police entered the venue at 6.45pm and told the organisers to stop the music.
“They are now asking the organisers to make all the women leave. There are five or six European women. They are also being forced to leave,” he narrated over the phone the scene when the raid was on.
The foreigners argued with the organisers and demanded a refund of the entry fee, he said before passing the phone to one of the women. “Bad, bad…” the woman shouted on the phone.
The party continued without the women and the music finally stopped at 10.20pm, said a man who was part of the light and sound production crew. “Police stopped the music around 7pm and allowed us to restart it 45 minutes after all the women had left. They ordered us to turn down the volume.”
There were at least 20 women on the dance floor and another 40-50 waiting to enter when police arrived.
Police chief Murugan said an inquiry would be conducted into allegations of men dancing at the event till 9pm when the party organisers did not have necessary permits.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah, who had promised to check coastal Karnataka’s moral police, has yet to react.
The hotel management refused to be drawn into the controversy, neither confirming nor denying the incident.