Pune: Sunburn festival faces the heat as farmer files PIL

Updated: Dec 28, 2016, 10:01 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

One of the locals has approached the court; organisers of the festival say they have permission and have not received any notice

Preparations for Sunburn which is to start today
Preparations for Sunburn which is to start today

Pune: Sunburn, the popular electronic dance and music festival, which is to be held in Pune from today may have got support from the state government, but faces opposition from local villagers and few right wing organisations. A PIL has also been filed against it.

Pune-based farmer Sandeep Bhondage of Shiv Sena, filed the PIL yesterday in the Bombay High Court, under the provisions of Protection of the Environment Act. His lawyer Wajid Rahim Khan said the PIL will be heard today. Bhondage’s petition is against the organisation that holds the festival, as well as Maharashtra state, the SP, District Forest officer etc.

He said, “The Sunburn festival is an unlawful event. It will breach the peace and bring a law and order issue. There was drug abuse in Goa and so the festival was banned for two years. We have prayed to the HC to stop the festival.”

After organising the Sunburn festival in Goa since 2007, the organisers have shifted it to Pune, where it will take place at Wagholi near Keshnand Phata on land owned by Forest Department, between December 28 and December 31.

The objections
Ramesh Shinde, spokesperson of Hindu Janjagruti Samiti said, “Pune is a cultural city and known for developments that have enriched the history of India. This event will definitely ruin the name of the city.”

Abhay Vartak, spokesperson of Sanatan Sanstha alleged that the organizers don’t have permission. He said, “We met the collector, Income tax officials and also officials of the state entertainment department, and found the organisers have not taken permission.”

Chandrakant Varghade, an RTI activist and local resident said, “Our village and the adjacent village are liquor free and from past 10 years we are trying to get an alcohol ban. This festival will send villagers back to liquor.”

Villagers to protest
A DJ association’s lawyer Rahul Zende said the local villagers plan to protest against the festival. He said, “For past three years, if someone from the village wanted to have loud speakers or DJs, permission was not granted. But now for this festival we will hear loud music played. We have approached police to grant us permission to play music, for we want to protest on the day Sunburn begins, by playing devotional songs via speakers to create obstructions in it.”

Sarpanch Narayan Harghude said, “We are against such culture and we are against liquor and narcotics.”

Minister speak
On Friday, state Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal was in Pune and said, “We want to develop a Pune-Lonavala-Mumbai corridor for organising festivals in order to promote tourism. Therefore, we have decided to extend non-financial support to Sunburn festival.”

On being asked about the objections raised by some outfits, Rawal said, “If there is anything illegal in the event, relevant agencies will act against it.”

Sunburn organisers speak
Harindra Singh, Managing Director, Percept Limited which organises the festival said about the PIL, “We have not received any notice from court.”

Karan Singh, CEO of Sunburn, said they have the permission in place. He said, “We have prior permission from the government and tourism department of Maharashtra is supporting us. Secondly, we are following the law. We have around 200 CCTV cameras placed in the city and Pune rural police are helping us and more than 2,500 bouncers have been deployed for security.”

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