Right Wing Groups In Pune Demand Cancellation Of Sunburn Festival

Posted at December 20th, 2016 | by Shivani Goel | in

As many of you know that due to issues with the Goan government, festivals like Sunburn had to shift out of their synonymous venues in Goa and find a new location. Sunburn kept the same dates but relocated to Pune as #SunburnHills and made the announcement with much pomp and circumstance. But it looks like their troubles aren’t over it. Apparently groups like Sanatan Sanstha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, and Narad Mandir Nyas have been protesting the scheduling of dance music event in their area as they believe it attacks Indian culture and society and propagates the use of drugs and other such substances.

The event is scheduled to take place at Kesnand, Pune, from the 28th to the 31st of December, and these right-wing groups in Pune are in uproar about it. This is the first time in their 10 active years that the festival is being displaced from it’s Goan venue and radical groups in Pune are not happy about it. Over a 100 women stages a dharna, demanding that the event be cancelled.

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-9-36-44-pmPratiksha Korgaonkar, state coordinator of Ranragini, the women’s wing of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti, said, “Sunburn festival is known for availing free ground to consume and sell drugs. That is the exact reason why so called music lovers attend the event and not to enjoy the western music. Last year, drugs, especially ketamine, worth crores was seized by the Goa police during a raid. They caught hundreds of so called music lovers who were consuming drugs on beaches and even in makeshift washrooms. In 2013, the Goa police caught drugs worth over Rs 1 crore at the venue of Sunburn. In 2009, as we all know, a Delhi girl, Neha Bahuguna, died at the venue due to overdosing on drugs.”

Sarita Ambike of Durga Vahini, the VHP’s women’s wing, added, “Youngsters can be seen dancing in an obscene manner to electronic music. Events like Sunburn or rave parties organised for New Year’s Eve and Christmas offering drugs, smoking and dance are a direct attack on Hindu culture. They are ruining the lives of youngsters across the country. We will not allow them to attack our culture, religion, society and nation.”


Harindra Singh, CEO of Sunburn Festival, pointed out, “Do you think that such a large crowd attends the festival to consume drugs? Organisations that are protesting against the event should approach us with all of their doubts. We are ready to clarify all their doubts. They must have a hidden agenda for demanding the event be cancelled.”

In response to the accusations that the event promotes drug consumption, Singh said,”We have been hosting Sunburn for the last 10 years and we have held over 500 other music shows across the country. If incidents like drug consumptions take place, law and order authorities would have taken action. Besides we would not have got permission for our music events”.

Sushma Deshpande, renowned play director and activist said, “It is meaningless to oppose any art form citing reasons like an attack on culture. If artistes cannot perform as per Hindu culture then should they not perform or present their art at all? What kind of democracy do we live in if we cannot do what we feel.”

While we won’t disagree that it’s not uncommon for events such as music festivals to be associated with drug abuse, there is no controlling individuals who want to consume drugs as they can do so in the privacy of their own homes, and it’s not fair to blame all such festivals for the actions of some individuals. Since Sunburn has taken care of all the necessary legalities, there should be no reason for it to be cancelled.

Quote Sources: The Wire

Shivani Goel

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