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#India – Bar girl dies during police raid in Mumbai, Inquiry ordered #Vaw

 

, TNN | Sep 1, 2013, 07.29 AM IST

MUMBAI: A bar girl allegedly died during a police raid in Borivli (east) around 10pm on Saturday. Kasturba Marg police registered an accidental death report for investigation.The Social Service (SS) branch of Mumbai police had raided the bar after being informed about “immoral activities” in the bar. As soon as the raid began, the unidentified bar girl panicked and collapsed. She was taken to a doctor in the same building by the bar employees but the doctor declared her dead on arrival.

Though the police have registered a case of accidental death in the case, the Ellora Bar and Restaurant management claimed that the police had assaulted the bar employee during the raid, which created panic and the bar girl died due to a heart attack.

‘Bar girl assaulted, cops took away CCTV’ 

The death of a bar girl in Borivli (east) during a police raid has prompted the bar owner to claim that it was not an accidental death.

“We have CCTV recording of the entire incident. But the police have taken every thing into their custody and even seized the mobile phones of the bar employees. They are not allowing me inside and I am unable to contact my employees,” said bar owner Pravin Agrawal.

He alleged that the raid was conducted with vested interests. The bar management stated that they run a bar without live orchestra but they play music and employ waitresses.

Senior police officers reached the spot after the incident and sent the woman’s body to Bhagwati hospital for postmortem. They denied the allegation and stated that the woman died accidentally. The Supreme Court had recently upheld a Bombay high court decision of 2006 that had struck down a law disallowing dance bars.

The court had stated that the right to practise a trade or profession and the right to life guaranteed under Constitution are, by their very nature, intermingled with each other, but in a situation like the present one, such right cannot be equated with unrestricted freedom like a run-away horse. It would be better to treat the cause than to blame the effect and to completely discontinue the livelihood of a large section of women, eking out an existence by dancing in bars, who will be left to the mercy of other forms of exploitation, the court had said.

Nitasha Natu TNN, Sept 2

The Mumbai police have ordered an inquiry into the death of a 27-year-old bar girl during a raid by the social service branch (SSB) at a Borivli (East) bar on Saturday night. The management of the establishment has alleged that its staff was manhandled and terrorized during the raid.

    “The inquiry will be headed by SSB assistant commissioner Feroz Patel. I have asked for the inquiry report to be submitted within three days,” said joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy. 
According to the bar management, 10 to 12 SSB officers reached the establishment around 8.45pm. There were a dozen male staffers, 24 bar girls and around 21 customers at the bar at that time. “The police team vandalized furniture and roughed up customers and staffers, including the bar girls,” said Pravin Agrawal, who is related to ’s owner and helps run the establishment.
    “Minutes after the raid’s start, one of the bar girls, Shaba Khan, passed out. Some staffers sprinkled water on her, but the SSB did not help revive her. When she did not respond, Khan was taken to a local physician who declared her dead—from cardiac arrest,” added Agrawal. 
    The bar management alleged that SSB officers remained at the establishment until 8.30am on Sunday. “They seized our computer’s external hard disk and the CCTV footage. We will submit a letter to the police commissioner stating that Shaba died because of the panic created by the SSB team,” Agarwal claimed. 
    SSB officials denied the bar management’s charges. “Our officers were conducting a general check since it was a Saturday and not a raid. The SSB team asked the management to produce relevant paperwork. At 8.57pm, Shaba Khan passed out. No staffer or customer was manhandled. Doctors declared Khan dead. The bar management was booked under section 33(w) of the Bombay Police Act for playing music without a licence,” said an SSB officer. 
The officer added: “In its records the bar had shown only five female waitresses, though it had employed 24. The management could not explain what 24 waitresses were doing on the premises. They did not have a performance licence for an orchestra. We have seized their music system.”

CONFLICTING CLAIMS

A27-year-old woman employed with a Borivli (East) bar, Ellora, died soon after a clutch of policemen from the Social Service Branch reached the establishment around 8.45pm on Saturday. The police say they were just talking to the bar management when the death occurred, while the management says the cops assaulted staffers. Here are the two conflicting versions of the incident:

BAR MGMT ACCOUNT
Around 12 cops came to the bar. Five of them assaulted the security guard before the whole team entered the premises    They vandalized the furniture and roughed up several customers and bar staffers, including some waitresses
Soon after, a bar girl, Shaba Khan, passed out

The other bar girls were confined to a room and not allowed to drink water or use the restroom. Around 6am on Sunday, the women were bundled into a police van and released on the Western Express Highway

The police seized the CCTV footage and left at 8.30am
The policemen went to the bar for an inspection, not a raid
They asked the management to produce relevant paperwork. No staff member or customer of the bar was manhandled
While they were talking to the management, a bar girl, Shaba Khan, passed out. Doctors declared her dead
The bar management was booked under section 33 (w) of the Bombay Police Act for playing music without a licence
The management had shown five female waitresses on the bar’s rolls, while it had actually employed 24, including Shaba     CCTV footage of the incident will be presented as evidence

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