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Last Updated: Friday, 22 July, 2005, 08:39 GMT 09:39 UK
India state bans dancing bars
Dance bar in Bombay
The girls dance and customers often throw money
India's western Maharashtra state has passed a controversial bill which bans dance bars in the state.

Correspondents say the ban will affect more than 100,000 girls who work in some 1400 dance bars in the state.

The state government says the bars corrupt young people and are a front for crime and prostitution.

Bar owners and dancing girls have bitterly protested against the ban saying that the government was playing with their lives.

The passage of the bill in the lower house of the Maharashtra assembly followed a marathon six-hour-long debate.

We will not allow naked dance in the state
RR Patil, Deputy Chief Minister
The BBC's Zubair Ahmed in Mumbai (Bombay) says the bill was passed almost unanimously with the opposition parties in agreement with the governing coalition.

Once approved by the upper house of the assembly, the bill will become a law.


Last month, the governor of Maharashtra had delayed the signing of the bill to ban dance bars and returned it to be debated by the state assembly.

Mumbai bar girl protest
The bar girls of Mumbai say they have no other means of income

A statement from the governor's House had said that he saw "no immediate reason" to sign the ordinance.

There are nearly 1,400 dance bars in the state, which employ more than 100,000 dancing girls.

The girls dance Bollywood numbers and clients often thrown them money.

Mumbai (Bombay), capital of Maharashtra, has some 700 dance bars alone and they are considered to be an integral part of the city's famed nightlife.

Bar owners and dancing girls reject the charges made against them by the state government, arguing that they promote Indian classical music and dance.

Last year thousands of bar girls took to the streets of Mumbai (Bombay) in protest against what they said were police abuses of innocent drinking dens in the city.

A group of lawyers have already challenged the legality of the ordinance at the Mumbai High Court.

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