Goa Police tried to control the chaotic traffic in Vagator and opted to abet loud music being played beyond permissible decibels and time as Indian tourists started their long Independence Day weekend in Goa.
It was close to midnight on Saturday and the music in Banana Forest in Ozran, Vagator, was blasting beyond the decibel limits permitted by the Goa Bench of the Mumbai High Court at Goa.
As a journalist tried to capture some pictures outside Banana Forest, a security guard demanded his camera and deleted the pictures related to the place.
“I am the owner of Banana Forest and you cannot take any pictures of my place,” said the man dressed as a security guard but claimed he was the owner and gave his name as Arthur Cardozo.
“I have a feeling you are a journalist and it will not be good if you write that there is a party at my place. I have no problems if you write about the other parties taking place,” said Arthur who did not carry the demeanour of a proprietor.
Vagator and its surrounding areas were packed with tourists from all over India, many with cars of their own and others with rent-a-cab and bikes. Men, women – many with alcohol bottles in their hands - were seen moving from one party place to another and controlling the traffic in Ozran were two traffic police.
“Obviously, some VVIPs must be attending these all-night parties, otherwise, how does one explain the presence of traffic police trying to handle this mad traffic at this time of the night?” said a local who was watching the chaos from his window sill.
“The entry fee is Rs 1,000 but you can come in and have a drink,” stated the self-proclaimed owner of Banana Forest. “Other places charge between Rs 6,000 and Rs 7,000,” he claimed after passing instructions to the snack vendors outside to keep an eye on anyone taking pictures of the place.
Restaurants, roadside stalls selling women's clothing and wholesale alcohol shops could be seen doing business right through the night and in the melee music beyond the limits prescribed by the High Court could be heard at Hill Top and Shiva Valley too.
During the day, it was buzzing on social media that one Ravi Harmalkar along with villagers of Anjuna would be taking out a rally against loud music and late-night parties in Vagator at 11 pm.
“The boys from Vagator let me down and I am at the moment in hospital with my cousin and that is why we could not have the rally today. But we will be having the rally tomorrow (Sunday),” stated Ravi, when contacted over the phone at around 11 pm.
“This appears to be an extortion racket. Everyone is in the business to make a quick buck," stated an elderly man Vagator who had stepped out of his home to join the protest.
“Business has never been like what it used to be before. Now, the demand is more for cigarettes and at times we get customers asking for an omelette. We are here till around six in the morning,” stated a lady whilst waiting for customers.
“Some places close after midnight, others go on till early morning. It is normally the places where the music is loud that parties get over in the morning,” stated a resident of Vagator on condition of anonymity.
“If you find this traffic chaotic now, you will find it drunkenly chaotic in a few hours. The presence of traffic police controlling the traffic where music is being played loud is proof that in our village no one cares for the law anymore,” was the view of a businessman from Vagator as he closed his shutters after midnight.
As the Indian tourists move wildly to the monotonous rhythm, which disturbs the children and the sick in the village, the truth that law has no life where money and drugs live together was sinking into the minds of the few brave hearts in Vagator who had gathered to be witness to hypocrisy of law enforcers.