BANGALORE: The BJP government in Karnataka came under fire from opposition Congress members today as they sought action against officials who allowed holding of an "island festival" at St Mary's Island off the district headquarters town of Udupi that featured hundreds of foreign tourists, "obscene dances" and alleged consumption of ganja.
During the Zero Hour in the assembly, U T Khader, Gopal Bhandari and the Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah demanded action saying it was against Indian culture, adding such events should not be allowed. The three-day event was organised by the district adminstration and the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), in association with 3W Concepts, to promote coastal tourism from February three.
Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said a report has been sought from the Regional Commissioner on the episode and "nothing that went against Indian culture would be tolerated". Congress alleged the district administration blatantly violated rules and allowed use of drugs, consumption of alcohol, and "obscenities" by foreigners.
Gowda said that in addition to the locals, about 900 foreigners participated in the festival. During the festival, several stalls showcasing coastal food had been put and some local dances, including "dollu kunitha", were staged during the festival. Two international bands also performed shows, the Chief Minister said.
"The government would not allow any party or programme that would go against Indian culture," he said. The Spring Zouk Festival 2012 was organised in St Mary's Island from February 3 to 5 by Udupi administration in collaboration with Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation. The festival's aim is to introduce the culture and folklore of the land to foreigners and people from outside the state. Speaking to reporters at the Adi Udupi helipad yesterday, the Chief Minister said tourism had not taken off in the state's coastal districts and a festival of this kind would also generate employment for locals.