Express news service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The recent raid by special excise and drug enforcement teams on a resort island in the backwaters of Poovar in Thiruvananthapuram resulted in the arrest of 19 people, including two women, for organizing and participating in a drug-fueled rave party.
The incident, although it highlighted the increase in synthetic drug use among the capital’s youth, also caused a backlash from professional DJ artists across the city and beyond by hosting events. New Years and Christmas in the coming days. Professional DJ artists who have recovered after the pandemic hit say the incident shattered their hopes because for some their pre-booked DJ events in the coming days have been canceled.
The pandemic had left most DJs out of work, forcing them even to seek alternative jobs – from cook to sales manager. As the city returned to normal with the opening of recreation centers and exceptions in gatherings, these professionals found hope to dance their pandemic blues through more DJ events across the state. Almost all the young and experienced DJ artists had kept the hope of regaining their source of income through upcoming college festivals, Christmas and New Year celebrations. But the illegal rave party organized by a few drug dealers once again broke down. their dreams, says DJ Aun, aka Arun S, who has 15 years of experience in the field.
âThiruvananthapuram, being a very sensitive city, one such incident is enough to target other innocent people. The culture, reputation, credibility and honesty that we professional DJs have built here over the past 15-10 years are affected when such cases suddenly arise. Now, I’m afraid many have already identified DJ nights as a place to get and distribute drugs. Our DJ events are ethical and I remember how many women gave me their bags and purses to keep them while dancing on the DJ floors at my events. It happened because of the trust I placed in my clients. I even doubt that not only public celebrations but also DJs for weddings and corporate events are also affected because from now on people are moving away from the idea of ââDJing, âArun said.
But according to DJ Ajin, who has been active in the field for 10 years, there is a need to educate the public about DJ evenings and rave parties. Ajin, who specializes in DJ events for weddings and college parties, says awareness of DJ parties will stop labeling him with drugs.
âRave parties are secretly organized by certain groups in isolated places only with the motto of drug use. But DJ events that are advertised through public social media platforms and advertisements are trustworthy because they are not illegal. Wedding DJs are only about an hour long and being a family event, who will dare provide the drugs? It is simple logic to think. The same goes for college parties, as they take place under the watchful eye of college authorities and under strict supervision. Last year, due to the pandemic, I lost a handful of New Years DJ events and am wondering if the cancellation will happen this time after the Poovar incident. “
The security concern had even resulted in the cancellation of many DJ nights organized by DJs and event management companies across the city. According to a source from the capital-based event management company Connections Entertainment, their recent DJ party, which was scheduled to be held on December 11 at a popular leisure beach hotel in Kovalam, has been canceled.
âOne of the international DJs, Ivan, was supposed to lead the event, but the Poovar incident resulted in its cancellation. Even though the program features a renowned DJ like Ivan who is a gentleman and non-alcoholic, the recent rave night with drugs has downgraded well-known events like ours that only welcome a mature crowd. The financial loss incurred for such an event is high – from the organization of the stay of the guests, the costs of booking rooms, the payment of the artist and his travel expenses, etc. The source said.
Sharing his concerns about such an unethical presence at DJ events, Arun says the blame will also be on the event management company that hosts the event even if a guest is carrying drugs without the organizers. be warned. âOutside of rave parties, the headaches double if one of the guests has drugs without our notice, even if we adhere to the safety assessment. Rather than this individual, the event management company will be held accountable as if it had provided it to the guests â.
The woes aren’t limited to DJ artists, as the city’s DJ enthusiasts have also expressed concerns about the state’s party ban. Sauraj Pushpangathan, a technician from Alappuzha, explained how DJs have helped them avoid the pressure of their work. He says that even though ours is described as a highly literate state, the state of mind of people is still “pathetic”.
âIf a young person or a group goes on a bicycle ride, they are labeled as consuming alcohol and ganja. If it is a team party, even then it is an immoral activity where drugs and LSD are consumed. After the pandemic, when restrictions were relaxed on public gatherings and recreation, it was a great relief for techies like us as we were able to enjoy our weekends with friends again. DJ events are negatively labeled by our Orthodox society. Aside from juices or cocktails, drugs and alcohol are not served at these DJ events that are part of our professional life in other metropolitan cities, âadds Sauraj.
Highlighting incidents of drug use at rave parties during the festive seasons, G Sudhiesh Kumar, head of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association, says this eases the celebratory scene in the state.
âIn this holiday season, cases like this will make non-domestic tourists think twice before coming here to savor their vacation. At a time when the state is reporting the highest Covid cases in the country, drug cases like this will wreak havoc on the tourism industry. ”
60 people, including 25 women, were arrested during a drug-fueled rave party in Vagamon last December during a joint police operation of Narcotics Cell. According to the cops After being informed, the SP had organized a squad of 100 police officers. Prohibited drugs such as LSD, heroin and marijuana were seized from the site.
The accused was not arrested for the first time
According to excise sources, the trio arrested by the special excise enforcement team for hosting a rave party at a resort near Poovar on Sunday held a similar event at the same resort earlier this year. .
They said the main organizer, Akshay Mohan, a 26-year-old DJ from Aryanadu, was the hub of the racket. He uses his contacts to stock up on synthetic drugs in Bangalore and Goa. Peter Shan, 35, from Kannanthura and Ashir, 31, from Kazhakuttom were the other organizers.
The trio’s arrest was recorded and they were remanded in custody. No less than 14 people who showed up at the event were released on bail because they were not found in possession of the drugs. The execution team, Cercle Inspector T Anikumar, said their statements were recorded before they were released on bail. âWe collect video footage and verify details of their banking transactions. If it turns out that they have a link to drug trafficking, we will take further action against them, âAnikumar said.
Excise sources said the rave night took place under the guise of a fashion show and music night. While true fashion show aficionados and music lovers attended the program, drug addicts and hawkers also showed up. Peter, who is an alleged drug trafficker, had purchased the ticket to attend the program. Ashir, who had accepted the contract for the organization of food and drink, had also stockpiled drugs to sell to his contacts. MDMA, LSD and hash oil were reportedly seized from the trio.
The sources said Akshay was arrested in 2018 for possession of 65 LSD patches. A source in Kazhakuttom told TNIE that Akshay was a regular visitor to a local tattoo shop where he made his contacts. âHe arrived in luxury cars and was accompanied most of the time by women from wealthy backgrounds. They used to drop it off and pick it up at the store, âa source said.
The excise service, for its part, has launched a special campaign against the sale of alcohol and drugs. The campaign started on Saturday and will run until January 3. Although special campaigns are often held in December due to Christmas and New Year celebrations, this time the focus is more on reducing the flow of drugs, said an excise official, In every Taluk, a team led by an inspector works around the clock to organize surprise raids.