Updated: August 23, 2021 9:58:50 am
TEN days after the Nagpur Commissioner of Police, Amitesh Kumar, ordered the city’s Ganga-Jamuna red light area closed, a confrontation occurred between residents and sex workers on Sunday.
Led by Jwala Dhote, daughter of late firebrand Vidarbha leader Jambuwantrao Dhote, the sex workers have been demanding the lifting of the ban, citing numerous hardships faced by them due to closure of their source of livelihood.
Local residents have said that sex workers lure minor girls from outside the state and openly solicit in public places, which has vitiated the atmosphere in the area and made life difficult for the residents. The police had closed the red light area on August 12 citing provisions of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
Led by NCP corporator Abha Pande, residents have set up an action committee to press for their demand to close the red light area.
On Sunday, they came face to face with the sex workers led by Jwala Dhote and the police reportedly had a tough time controlling the surging crowd.
Pande said, “We will not let anyone do flesh trade here. The court has already ordered closure of the brothel and our demand is that it must be implemented. They can live here peacefully by doing something else for a living but they can’t run a brothel.”
Dhote said, “Those demanding the closure of the brothel live in big bungalows and don’t have to bother about two square meals. Here, these women and their children are confronted with a situation where they have nothing to eat. Why should they be pushed into starvation?”
No woman should be forced to do anything like prostitution to eke out a living but unless they are provided an alternative, they should be allowed to sustain themselves, Dhote added.
Dhote’s father, Jambuwa-ntrao, was known for having sex workers tie rakhis to him. Sex workers in the city had planned a protest in remembrance of Jambuwantrao on Sunday.
Tension had been brewing in the area ever since the red light area was closed. Kumar told The Indian Express, “There were three basic reasons to shut the brothels. Consenting adults engaging in any sexual activity with or without money changing hands is no crime. But running brothels, trafficking minor girls and bringing them into the red light area and openly soliciting in public places are violations of the law. Also, we have witnessed a very heavy footfall of customers in the locality after the second Covid wave. All this led to the decision to shut the area.”
Kumar added, “Ladies who engage in prostitution for a prolonged time can be rehabilitated but we won’t tolerate minor girls being forced into the illegal business and brothel houses being run and will deal with it strictly.”
Addressing concerns that the tension could escalate in the days to come, Kumar said, “The local residents’ protest is a separate issue. We will not let law and order be disturbed and will deal firmly with anyone from either side trying to disrupt law and order.”
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