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Ban on dance bars: ordinance returned

Kalpana Sharma

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Governor S. M. Krishna on Thursday returned without signing the Bombay Police (Amendment) Ordinance 2005 — relating to a ban on dancing bars in the State. He has recommended that the Ordinance be introduced in the forthcoming session of the Legislature as a Bill.

The Ordinance was sent to the Governor for his signature on June 3 after the Government decided to ban "dancing bars." Despite wide protests from bar owners and women working in these bars Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R. R. Patil, who initiated the action, did not change his stance.

He announced his decision on March 30 in the Assembly and on May 18 the Cabinet approved the ban and drafted the Ordinance.

Representatives of the bar girls had met Mr. Krishna and presented their case. They also approached Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who responded by asking the Government to provide them alternative livelihood options. Varsha Kale, who heads the bar girls' union, said on Wednesday a letter was sent to the Governor by chair of the National Commission for Women Girija Vyas urging their rehabilitation.

Representing the other side, A group supporting the ban on dance bars led by former leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Mrinal Gore and CPI (M) veteran Ahilya Rangnekar met the Governor yesterday on Wednesday and urged him to sign and return the Ordinance.

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