OSHIWARA-MUMBAI, India — Police in the northern Mumbai suburb of Oshiwara staged a raid on a “gay” party at a beach house in the popular Versova Beach area early Sunday arresting 133 persons, including transgender Bollywood film star Bobby Darling on charges of “indecent behavior.”
Police arrested the party’s organizers, Sharaj Jogani and Saleem Siraj, for not having obtained requisite permission to serve liquor at the party, while the DJ — DJ Babar — was arrested for not having a legal license to play music.
Police had raided the party after neighbors complained about the loud music that was being played.
The majority of the party goers were described as being “homosexual,” according to a police spokesperson.
“The team found that those at the party were behaving in an indecent manner as defined under the Bombay Police Act so they were detained and asked to pay a fine of 1,200 Rupees (about $25 U.S. dollars) each,” said Pratap Dighavkar, deputy commissioner of the Oshiwara police.
The party organizers, Sharaj Jogani and Saleem Siraj, and DJ Babar were arrested, and later released on bail.
Bobby Darling told reporters, “I just went to the party as a celebrity guest on a professional level and charged for it. I was not aware it was a gay party. I did not see any form of indecent behavior … I doubt the police would have taken such action had it not been a gay party.”
“Yes, we did arrest Bobby Darling. And we charged him for indecent behavior. He was let off in the morning after he paid a bail of 12,500 Rupees,” said Assistant Inspector Sanjay More of the Oshiwara Police.
Police actions in Mumbai and its suburbs are facing increasing backlash over enforcing what some see as draconian statues that define some actions including modern forms of dancing or even simply holding hands as “indecent behaviour.”
In July, police raided a popular local night club, arresting 71 young persons dancing for what police also referred to as indecent behavior. That action, where the 71 nightclub attendees were detained for 3 hours and then fined 38000 rupees each, caused them to take their protests online with a Stop Moral Policing page on Facebook.
The recent actions by the police agencies around Mumbai prompted one Indian media outlet, NDTV, to note, “If you like dancing or wearing party clothes, then Mumbai, often described as India’s Manhattan, is not the place for you.”