Goa millennium beach party banned
BBC News – Friday, 24 December, 1999
Copyright: BBC News
The Indian state of Goa has banned a 10-day millennium beach party after fears of drug use and public nudity. Organisers of the non-stop rave, expected to attract some 25,000 people each day, have been told to put their plans on hold and were accused of breaking India’s strict coastal environmental laws.
Acid parties are out. One can have fun without drugs.
The party was to take place on Goa’s Anjuna beach, famous for its flea-markets and beach parties and a favourite of the hippies and backpackers of the 1960s and 70s. Goa’s Chief Minister, Francisco Sardinha, told the AFP news agency that his administration would allow only “good clean fun”. “Acid parties are out. Even when I was a young man, I did not go to such things. One can have fun without drugs,” he said.
The event, billed as the biggest rave party in the world, ran into controversy when local newspapers accused the organiser of illegally occupying part of the beach to construct marquees and a multi-level dance floor.
Thousands were expected from around the world.
Organiser Jeh Wadia, the son of one of India’s oldest and blue-blooded industrialists, was said to have illegally occupied land belonging to the government. Mr Wadia, the heir to the Bombay Dyeing textiles empire and a descendent of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, had been organising Goa raves for years, for “lovers of techno, jungle, acid and Goa trance music”. But lawyers for a local journalist, who filed a public interest petition against Mr Wadia, said he failed to seek permission from a host of government agencies before planning his event.
The tiny one-time Portuguese enclave of Goa has attracted tourists for years, seduced by its sunny beaches and promise of hedonism. I don’t want to sound more Popish than the Pope but we will try and make drugs totally out of reach for anyone. The millennium rave had been planned at a beachside restaurant, the Paradiso de Anjuna, with a dance floor extending down to the beach, tattoo and body-painting tents, cyber cafe, bars and sports facilities. But Goa has also acquired a notorious reputation as a drug haven. Recently, local citizens have drawn attention to drug peddling and paedophilia.
Goa’s chief minister says it would be hard to totally ban the drug trade. “I don’t want to sound more Popish than the Pope, but we will try and make drugs totally out of reach for anyone,” he said. “But I cannot say we will be 100% effective.”