Bangalore : (Mid-Day.com): While the High Court issued clear orders last year stating that women can be employed by dance bars in the city to serve and wait on tables, the city cops are making sure that women are not allowed inside dance bars.
The police are playing it safe by only issuing oral instructions to the Working Women's Bar and Restaurant Association, because if written guidelines were issued, it could be seen as a violation of the HC order. While the brainchild of Additional Commissioner of Police T Sunil Kumar appears to be an impressive way to shut down live bands in the city, the association remains upset about the issue.
All 164 dance bars in the city have remained closed for eight days now, after last Tuesday's urgent meeting held by the association. Dance bar owners claim that they have not opened after City Police Commissioner Jyothi Prakash Mirji issued 'oral' directives, based on which these bars were supposed to function. Due to this abrupt shutting down, each dance bar in the city has faced huge losses running into lakhs over the last week.
"We heard about the directive issued by the commissioner last week, but local police officials told us to shut down bars until further instruction. Thus we have not opened (the bars) since last week's meeting. We are facing a loss of Rs. 40,000 each day. Some dance bars that are based in the heart of the city are facing much higher losses and we have no idea why we are being denied the right to run our business smoothly," said Vijayrai, owner of Aishwarya Bar and Restaurant, Gandhi Nagar.
Adding to this is the complaint dance bar owners have received from their female employees. "Over 3,000 bar women have suffered job losses because of this sudden change in the rule. The police commissioner's office has instructed all DCPs not to allow our female employees to enter bars. Many women who were employed with our bars have returned to their hometowns. The rest are demanding salaries as their families are dependent on their wages," Sanjay Kochhar, president of the Working Women's Bar and Restaurant Association, informed.
He further added that each police official has issued different instructions and they are confused about whose instructions to follow. "We issued ID cards to female employees and installed CCTV cameras as instructed. (Police) constables are present outside all major bars to ensure nothing wrong happened now deny our female employees entrance. We are tired of talks with police officials and now will take the matter up at the ministerial level," said Kochhar.
Police officials on the other hand are singing a different tune and seem to have a plan of action in place. ACP Kumar clarified, "We have just instructed dance bars to stop running live bands and are making sure that women do not dance in these bars. Furthermore, we have not instructed them to shut down or not allow women into the bars. The local police have been instructed to keep an eye out for any illegal activities."
He added, "We have information about dance bars being involved in unconstitutional activities and as soon as we have more details, severe action will be taken."