Govt, Opposition trade charges over 'rave party'

While the Opposition tried its best to put the ruling party on the mat on Tuesday over the tourism promotion programme at St Mary’s Island in Udupi, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said nothing indecent or obscene took place at the three-day festival.

The government will never allow anything that is against the culture or sentiments of the people, they said. They said they will not encourage any act that undermines the nation’s tradition and cultural practices.  

The chief minister, in both Houses of the Legislature, said the government will direct the Regional Commissioner of Mysore to conduct a detailed inquiry into the Spring Zouk Festival held from February 3 to 5, in which a good number of foreigners participated.  

The Regional Commissioner, being a woman, will give an impartial and exact report on the festival, Gowda said. However, in both Houses, the Opposition members said that in the name of tourism, skimpily clad women danced, indulged in sexual acts and consumed unlimited liquor. The tourism department should not have allowed the festival, they said. 

In the Council
Leader of the Opposition Motamma taunted the BJP, saying even as it projected itself as the guardian of Indian culture and traditions, the party’s government had allowed such an event.

JD(S) leader M C Nanaiah said watching live sex is common in many foreign countries, but the same doesn’t go well in India. Any music festival is welcome, but liquor consumption beyond certain time in the evening should not be allowed as eventually it may lead to law and order problem.

Minister Acharya, while reading out a statement of the chief Minister, said the permission given for the rave party was to ensure that tourism industry thrived in the coastal belt of Karnataka, as in Goa and Kerala.

The event, organised by 3W Concepts, was the first attempt to promote tourism. Traditional art and culture was also promoted. As many as 30 musical bands performed.

The police had kept a vigil on the event. The tourism department had not given any financial assistance to the organisers, he added. The Minister said no untoward incident took place during the festival. On whether there was permission accorded to the government to organise the festival on a site protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Acharya said, if it was a protected site, then the Deputy Commissioner is the in-charge for it.

According to Acharya, as many as 3,550 people visited the island during the festival.

In the Assembly

The Opposition members came down heavily on the government for not taking action against the organisers of the alleged rave party.

Congress member U T Khader, who raised the issue, alleged all types of narcotic substances were openly sold and consumed at the event. The participants, especially foreigners, indulged in indecent activities. The government should order a CID probe into the issue, he added.

Abhaychandra Jain (Cong) sought to know why the district administration did not take action against anyone.

“It (the event) is a disgrace to the State’s culture. TV footages are enough to prove that it is not a tourism promotional event, but a government-sponsored rave party,” he alleged.

Leader of the Opposition, Siddaramaiah, said the event showed the State in poor light.

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