Complaints have been formally lodged against the organisers of the Goa Sunburn Festival, accusing them of insulting the sentiments of those following Sanatana Dharma by allegedly displaying an inappropriate image of Bhagwan Shiva. Congress leader Vijay Bhike and various Hindu organisations, including the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, submitted complaints at the Mapusa police station in Goa.
The primary focus of the grievances centers around the portrayal of Bhagwan Shiva on an LED screen during the festival, where attendees were reportedly seen engaging in disrespectful activities, including indecent dancing and alcohol consumption. The festival, held from December 28 to 30 in Vagator, North Goa, also witnessed additional legal violations, such as thefts and the unauthorised sale of event passes.
Vijay Bhike’s complaint explicitly accuses the organisers of intentionally insulting the religious feelings of Hindus by suggesting that Bhagwan Shiva supports activities like drinking alcohol and the consumption of prohibited substances. The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti echoed similar sentiments, expressing concern over the portrayal of Bhagwan Shiva in a manner that allegedly hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.
In their complaint, the Samiti highlighted potential communal tension, stating, “This is also creating communal tension by using God of one religion for communal purpose and could create a law-and-order situation.” They had previously advocated for a ban on the festival, citing concerns about the promotion of a “drug culture.”
As of now, no FIR has been registered in the case. However, a senior Goa police official has confirmed a thorough examination of the complaints to establish the facts.
Apart from these complaints, the Goa Sunburn Festival faced other legal issues. Seven individuals from Mumbai were arrested for allegedly stealing high-end mobile phones during the event. Additionally, five individuals employed by the festival organisers were apprehended for purportedly stealing and attempting to sell passes worth Rs 82 lakh.
The festival has a history of controversies, including previous issues related to noise pollution. This year, the organisers faced legal action from the police for breaching noise pollution regulations. The authorities intervened on the first day of the event, leading to the cessation of the program, charges against the organisers, and a stern warning to adhere to noise pollution norms.