Where is your licence to groove?

Sep 13, 2011, 06:48 IST | Sheetal Sukhija

DJ community outraged after police posse raided a city pub over permit for operating dance floor; Cops say raids will continue on such establishments across city until proper approvals and licences are secured

DJ community outraged after police posse raided a city pub over permit for operating dance floor; Cops say raids will continue on such establishments across city until proper approvals and licences are secured
The latest crackdown by the city police on pubs running dance floors 'illegally' has not gone down too well with party loving Bangaloreans. Calling their move 'uncivilized', a large section of partygoers in the city are infuriated over the unrealistic law being laid down by the police.

A team of 40 police personnel swooped down on a city pub,
where over 150 patrons, including renowned DJs from across
the country and abroad had gathered

As a part of their crackdown, around 40 police personnel raided a city pub Zero G on Sunday night. Over 150 patrons had gathered at the venue to be part of an international act, which had brought together DJs from across the country as well from renowned DJs from abroad.

Justifying the raid, Commissioner of Police Jyotiprakash Mirji said that all pubs wanting to have dance floors are required to follow a list of guidelines set by the police department, which are to be strictly followed if applications for licence are to be approved.

Meanwhile, witnesses alleged that unnecessary force was used by the raiding party, which swooped down on the pub.

"They slapped the bartender and took a few well-known DJs into custody. This is absolutely shocking and not justified," said an eyewitness on condition of anonymity.

The DJing community has also voiced strong disapproval towards the behaviour of the raiding party and question why these new 'dancing guidelines' have been forced upon them.

"The pubs, which are being accused of functioning without 'dance floor licence', have cleared all formalities, acquired liquor and excise licenses and have been religiously paying sales and service tax. Why have the police suddenly implemented new 'dancing guidelines'?" said DJ Jasmeet.

"We welcome any new law, but it is absolutely uncivilized to slap the staff and drag DJs into waiting police vehicles. The system is heading towards darker ages," the DJ added.

Of the hundreds of stand-alone pubs that have been battling the authorities to acquire the said licence for years, not one application has been approved so far.

Going nowhere?
Pub owner Ashish Kothare said that establishments would gladly abide by the law, but only if it is realistic. He added that the licence is clearly a requisite by law and is understandable.

However, getting the same involves several conditions to be fulfilled, apart from approaching the various government departments for a list of clearances.

Even then, chances of getting licence is anyone's guess as many individuals have fulfilled the prerequisites and are still waiting, or their applications have allegedly been shelved.

"We have been constantly appealing to the police to provide licenses, but by passing this unrealistic law, they are not helping matters," he said.

Officials said that though licenses were issued to star hotels, applications made by stand-alone pubs with all guidelines in mind, have been rejected.

Back in time?
"We have tried to communicate with the police department, but if there is no meaningful talk on the matter, the problem will not be resolved.
For things to be looked at realistically, there needs to be some public pressure on the government," Kothare said.

About the sudden crackdown, Mirji said that rules are strict and offenders would not be tolerated.

"We have a list of guidelines, which need to be followed by pubs if they want to function with dance floors. If followed, then we would issue them the license," Mirji said.

Police officials further reiterated their stance stating that raids would continue until the pubs stop functioning

"No pubs will be allowed to continue running illegal dance floors until they have acquired legal licence.

We will continue our raids and ensure that licence applications will be approved for only those fulfilling criteria mentioned in our guidelines," said Sunil Kumar, ACP (Law and Order).

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