Bikinis will not be banned from Goa’s beaches, but drinking alcohol in public and on the state’s popular beaches will not be tolerated, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Wednesday, while defending a cabinet minister who has demanded a ban on revealing clothes in pubs.
“You cannot ban bikinis on beaches. But we will have to crack down on drinking in open areas, especially beaches,” Parrikar told a press conference Wednesday.
The chief minister defended Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Sudin Dhavalikar, who triggered a nationwide controversy after he demanded a ban on mini-skirts and bikinis in Goa’s nightclubs and beaches because they were against “Goan culture” and encouraged crime.
Backing his cabinet minister, Parrikar said several accounts of Dhavalikar’s comments had appeared in the media.
“Whatever he told me during his meeting with me is not objectionable. I am OK with it,” Parrikar said.
The chief minister said Dhavalikar’s opinion was personal and that in a private meeting with him, the minister had explained his part of the story.
Dhavalikar, during an interaction with reporters recently, had said: “Young girls wearing short skirts in nightclubs are a threat to the Goan culture. This habit of young girls wearing short dresses everywhere does not fit the Goan culture. What will happen to it if this continues? We should not allow this. It should be stopped.”
He also advised women to stop drinking, “because it is not good for their health”.
The Congress, which had earlier in the day demanded Dhavalikar’s resignation for his allegedly misogynist comments, later said the chief minister was being hypocritical.
“On one part, he is supporting Sudin Dhavalikar, and on other, he says these are personal views of Sudin. The chief minister should not forget that Sudin is part of his government,” Congress spokesperson Durgadas Kamat said in a statement issued here.
Dhavalikar’s comments also attracted flak from his cabinet colleague, Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar, who was not willing to buy his logic of banning bikinis on beaches.
“We cannot ban mini-skirts and bikinis in beaches and nightclubs. It is not possible,” Parulekar said on the sidelines of a tourism event in Panaji Wednesday.
Dhavalikar’s comments sparked controversy in the national media and online, with social forums abuzz with accusations of moral policing against the minister.