Mumbai cops step up crackdown on dance bars

Mumbai: It is been two years since dance bars were banned in Mumbai but many are still running, and the Mumbai Police is cracking down on them.

Recently, nine girls were arrested for soliciting customers at one such bar during a late night raid. A few days ago, six girls were arrested in a similar raid.

“Nine girls were arrested. They were soliciting customers,” says Inspector, Special Service Branch, R B Mane.

Many dance bars continue to thrive in some form or the other. Some feature live orchestras to entertain customers, and have women waiters.

Though it is legally allowed only up to 9: 30 pm, the bars generally close around 1:30 am.

Dance bar owners say the police crackdown is not justified, as the Supreme Court is still hearing their case.

“This is legal extortion,” says president, Dance Bars Association, Manjeet Singh Sethi.

While many of the dance bars still survive, reinvented as Orchestra Bars, fate hasn’t been this kind to the dance bar girls themselves.

Thursday , November 01, 2007

Made famous by the film Chandni Bar, many dancers found themselves out of work after the ban, and have had no option but to turn to the flesh trade.

“Prostitution is up 10 fold. They have so many expenses and can only earn 100 -200 rupees a day as waiters,” says Singh.

NGOs demand that the girls should be treated as victims of the flesh trade. If caught by the police they face action under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.

And often the real culprits get away scott free.

In one case while the girls, orchestra members and the bar manager were arrested, the owner escaped.

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