It appears like a case of one hand does not know what the other is doing. The guidelines for foreigners partying in Karnataka issued by the tourism department had raised eyebrows but now several ministers in the Government of Karnataka are speaking of a review while others claim they are unaware of it.
The tourism department in a bid to curb raves in Karnataka had issued a set of guidelines which stated:
- Police and officials should be allowed to shoot videos or photographs of the party attended by foreigners
- Organisers to provide details of foreigners attending the party
- Party should have an Indian theme
- Foriegners not allowed to stay back at the venue after event is over
- Wind up the party by 10 pm.
The rules and guidelines laid down by the tourism department many would say had amounted to moral policing. The tourism deparment however stands firm on this notification stating that it was issued in the interest of the foreigners and to ensure their safety.
The tourism department maintained that there are parties that are being held in isolated beaches. Sometimes parties are held in remote locations and the safety of the foreigners is under risk. We do not want complaints about harassment and hence these guidelines are aimed at protecting the foreigners an official with the tourism department informed OneIndia.
However many saw this as an invasion into privacy. It is nothing short of moral policing by the state several persons had claimed after the notification was issued. There are other ways to check and ensure the safety of the people.
What the police say?
The police on the other hand say that if there is a notification they would have to abide by it. The problem is that many of these rave parties have drugs. Using drugs is not permitted whether there is a notification or not. There ought to be some checks and balances.
There are other risks too that are involved in such parties and there is a need to ensure the safety of the foreign nationals. If something were to go wrong, you people in the media will be the first to criticize us, a police official informed.
What is the government contemplating?
Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah says that he is unaware of the guidelines. He however adds that he would look into it and decide on the next course of action. The Home Ministry says that it would review the notification after thoroughly looking into it.
The government says that it would be reviewed for sure. We will look into all aspects and take a final call. The Home Ministry however adds that the safety of the foreign tourists is of prime importance and we do not want anything untoward to occur in the state.
The review of the notification would be done after consultation. Without being intrusive and ensuring that all norms are followed, a final call will be taken on the notification, an officer in the Home Ministry says.
The rave party by the tourism department
The notification had been on the cards ever since a controversy erupted over a rave party that was organized at the St Marys island in Udupi in 2012. It was found that this rave party which was attended by a large number of foreigners had a free flow of drugs.
What was ironical was that the party was organized by the tourism department which had then stated it was aimed at promoting culture. Following the criticism a committee had been set up to suggest measures to ensure that such things do not recur.
It was following the recommendations of this committee that several measures were suggested. The latest notification by the tourism department is said to be the outcome of the measures suggested by the committee.
What steps are being taken to stop rave parties?
While the tourism department notification tries to regulate the parties attended by foreigners, the bigger question is about those rave parties which occur every week end without the knowledge of the authorities. Whitefield in Bengaluru is the rave destination and there is a party that occurs in a secluded location every week end.
There are several spots in Gokarna and Mangalore too where rave parties take place every week end allegedly without the knowledge of the authorities. In several cases it is found that the local police are fully aware of these rave parties, but do nothing about it.
Law enforcement authorities say that there is a need to crack down on those rave parties too and the government must seriously contemplate acting swiftly on it. There is easy drug flow network which has not been cracked by any of the law enforcement agencies. The bigger problem is out there. Regulating a party which everyone knows about is not exactly the way to go about it.