Friday, January 20, 2006

Puttaparthi Strip Club To Stay Open

Puttaparthi, South India

The Prashanthi Council has dropped its claims that the downtown Puttaparthi strip club 'Sai Love Saloon' poses a nuisance to its plans to build yet another monument to the local avatar's glories and subsequent redevelopment of the surrounding area. But that doesn't mean the battle over the sexually oriented business is over.

Council attorney Alan Strudderbanks said the ashram may appeal a year-old 3rd District court ruling that said the saloon has a right to operate downtown. On Thursday, Judge Dinesh Thappar agreed to dismiss a variety of claims among the ashram, the saloon and Puttaparthi that were up in the air, including the ashram's nuisance claims.

Saloon owner Rajaram Weeraratne said the nuisance claims were "crap." He said the ashram, through its real estate affiliate, Sai Darshan Builders., was unable to show the strip club devalued the village or increased crime. "It was just thrown in, in an attempt to intimate us," Weeraratne said after the hearing.

The strip club - which is located in the Samadhi Road red-light district - is not open now because of a water leak, apparently supplied by the Sri Sathya Sai Drinking Water Project. Weeraratne said he is waiting for insurance adjusters before he reopens. "Typical of them to shut down our water though," he grumbled. "Such childish tactics."

The Prashanthi Council unsuccessfully sued the District Collector and other local governmental organizations for granting a license allowing nude and semi-nude strip shows. Thappar ruled against the ashram last year, saying the city appropriately granted the license as the establishment would bring in "big bucks" from the constant influx of foreigners visiting Sai Baba throughout the year and would do much for local enterprise.

"I thank you all, gentlemen, for a most interesting case," Thappar told the attorneys Thursday.

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