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The Rediff Interview/Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya

'Law and order is better if bars shut early'

August 13, 2008

A general crib in Bengaluru [Images] is that its night life sucks and that bars are not open long enough. Successive governments have always managed to put their foot down and ensure that no liquor is served in the IT capital after 11.30 pm.

Just when a protest was staged last week seeking to extend the deadline, the Bengaluru police cracked down on 32 discotheques across the city, which were running way past the permitted time. While the debate rages on between the party hoppers and the police, Karnataka Home Minister Dr V S Acharya was unmoved by the protests. He told's Vicky Nanjappa that the law will be implemented strictly.

What is your stand on shutting down discotheques and bars at 11.30 pm?

First and foremost, this is not a new rule and has been in force for quite some time. It is not some sort of a new restriction that such a hue and cry should be made.

Why has such a rule been implemented?

First of all it is not we who have implemented the rule. It is the directive of the Supreme Court and the high court which we are following. I must say that it is in the interest of the people.

But does it gel well with the spirit of a cosmopolitan Bengaluru?

Bars have to close down by 11.30 pm, that is a rule and there is no going back on that. There is no such restriction on serving food and people can sit up late and enjoy their dinner. Nobody is preventing them from doing that.

Why is the government so adamant on this issue?

Our government is committed to maintaining law and order and we realise that one of the ways to do that is to shut down bars early. I have realised that there will be a problem if bars remain open late.

So are you trying to say that the entire problem of law and order will be solved if bars shut early?

I would not say that. But to a large extent the law and order will be under check if bars shut down early. Late night drinking only gives birth to anti-social elements.

So what steps are you taking to ensure that this rule is implemented?

I am in talks with the police department. It is their responsibility to ensure that the rule is adhered to fully and the government is supportive of it.

There are frequent complaints from people working late in the IT sector that they do not have a decent place to drink after they finish work. A similar concern has also been raised by a couple of outsiders who are in the city on work.

There will be no bending of the rules. All I have to tell these people is that if they want to drink then they must adjust their work timings. Finish work early and visit a pub or a bar to have a drink.

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