Sex workers dance at police outpost in WB
Senior cop says this is how they have been marking Shivratri for 15 yrs
Kolkata: A dance programme at a police outpost in Burdwan district, around 200 km from Kolkata, has created a furore.
The programme was held on Sivaratri at a temple within the premises of the Niyamatpur Investigation Centre (IC) . But, what sparked off the controversy was a dance by sex workers right within the premises of the outpost. Even, the officer-in-charge of the outpost was present while sex workers danced to popular Hindi film numbers.
What's more, a police van went to the red light area in the morning to bring 10 sex workers to perform at the outpost programme.
According to DIG (Burdwan range) Anuj Sharma, "An enquiry is being conducted by additional SP (Asansol). The officer-in-charge of Niyamatpur IC will submit a report in a couple of days. After that, we will see what action needs to be taken."
Niyamatpur is an industrial town in the mining belt of West Bengal. And, there are three red light areas — Lachipur, Sitarampur and Chopka — near Niyamatpur IC. The programme went on all day with microphones blaring away.
"The class X West Bengal Board Examination (madhyamik) begins on February 20. And, those preparing for the test had a tough time studying with microphones creating a ruckus," complained a local resident.
According to local sub-divisional officer Akhilesh Roy, "With the madhyamik examination a few days away, there was no question of granting permission to use microphones at the programme. But, the police had not sought any permission to hold the programme."
But, the local police claimed it was an annual affair and has been going for at least 15 years. "Every year, women from nearby red light areas worship at the temple inside the outpost on Sivaratri. After that, they sing and dance in front of the deity," said additional SP (Asansol) Vastav Vaidya.
So, what triggered the controversy this year?
"Well, I don't know. We are trying to procure a CD of the programme to find out if there were any excesses or obscenities," said Vaidya. But, he reiterated that the dance by sex workers had become a 'tradition' there. "It's not as if they had been paid to perform a mujra," he said.
He also reminded that the police was engaged in social work in the neighbouring red light areas. "We run a social welfare project — Disha Janakalyan Kendra — where sex workers and their children are taught computers and sewing; a school at Lachipur and are also involved in rehabilitation of sex workers by teaching them alternative ways of earning their livelihood," said Vaidya.
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