17 women hidden in secret basement of Mumbai bar; rescued
The Mumbai Police rescued at least 17 women from a bar in Andheri area late on Saturday night. The women were found hidden inside a secret basement connected to a make-up room of the building, the police said. A case has since been filed against the bar's manager and other staff members. Here are more details on this.
Why does it matter?
- In 2005, the Maharashtra government had banned all dance bars in Mumbai citing concerns over women safety.
- Consequently, hundreds of such bars were shut down and tens of thousands of women dancers were left jobless.
- However, the Supreme Court has overturned the ban and allowed dance bars to function with certain restrictions like time limits etc.
Raid conducted at Deepa Bar
The raid was carried out at Deepa Bar in Andheri. Officials of the Social Service Branch had received a tip-off the bar management employed women dancers and violated COVID-19 protocols. However, during the search, the sleuths found out that bathrooms, storage rooms, and the kitchen were all empty. They continued to question the manager and other employees who repeatedly denied the allegations.
Here are visuals from the raid
A large mirror in make-up room
Hours into the raid, a large mirror in the make-up room caught the attention of the officials. They then tried to remove that mirror from the wall but failed to do so. The mirror was eventually broken using a hammer which led to the discovery of a narrow passage connected to the secret basement. Seventeen dancers were rescued from there.
FIR against 20; bar sealed
The secret basement reportedly had air conditioning and ventilation, and was also stocked with food, water, and cold drinks. The police has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against 20 people including the bar's manager and cashier. Several people have been questioned and taken into custody. The bar, meanwhile, has been sealed by the cops.