Rape cases will increase if shops, malls, restaurants and movie theaters in Mumbai are allowed to remain open for 24 hours, a Maharashtra BJP leader has said opposing the trial run by Uddhav Thackeray government set to begin next week. Nightlife is not a "part of Indian culture", BJP's Raj Purohit has said.
The comments by Mr. Purohit, who has been sidelined in the BJP, are likely to create a row, especially the remark on "Indian culture".
"I have been protesting against nightlife in Mumbai for the last five years. it's not a part of Indian culture. This will lead the youth down on a wrong path and will also lead to an increase in the number of rape cases, crimes against women," the 64-year-old BJP leader told news agency ANI today.
"It will hamper law and order. There are not enough cops in the city to handle this," he told news agency ANI.
Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray announced on Friday that the state government has allowed "malls, mills, theaters, restaurants and shops which are not in residential areas to stay open for 24 hours". "If Ahmedabad can do this, why can't we? This will create jobs and benefit the government too," Mr Thackeray said.
The move to allow shops and establishments to remain open till late in certain areas does not affect pubs and restaurants which are governed by the Excise Act. It does not allow pubs and bars to remain open beyond the stipulated time as politicians opposed to the law have suggested.
The state government also said that it will take a decision on the need to increase police force to implement the move. "Decision will be taken after the Cabinet reviews the issue of allowing malls, pubs, multiplexes, and eateries to remain open 24x7. Accordingly, we will decide how much pressure it will create on police. If it is to function 24x7, we will have to increase our force, state administration will make a decision," Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh told reporters on Sunday.
The proposal to introduce the measure was moved by the BJP-led government over a year ago but it had taken a backseat after the devastating fire in a restaurant in the Kamala Mills Compound and the recent police crackdown on bars with women singers or waitresses.