Panaji: Two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers have raked up controversy in Goa by raising their pitch for legalising prostitution in the state.
Speaking at a function organised by the Rotary Club last week in the capital, the husband-wife duo of IPS officers Priyanka and Kartik Kashyap called for legalising prostitution.
They, however added, that it was their "personal opinion".
Their comments have caught the attention of Goa citizens, many of whom have not been charitable in their reactions to the suggestion for legalising the prostitution.
"Just sometime back, a BJP vice president said he backed dance bars, but later, he termed it personal opinion. And now police want prostitution legalised. Is a back-door being opened by this government for such vices? There is no smoke without fire," Durgadas Kamat, a Congress youth leader, said.
Priyanka Kashyap, a 2009 batch officer newly appointed as North District Superintendent of Police, said: "I am in favour of legalisation of prostitution. It`s a purely personal opinion."
Her comments came at a time when Goa is trying to shed off the image of being a sex tourism destination.
The steady crackdown on massage parlours and raids on prostitution dens have been top priorities of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led state government.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, on occasion of the Independence Day this year, said: "Prostitution and drugs are ruining Goa`s tourism sector, but my government is determined to rid Goa of these ills."
Priyanka`s husband Kartik Kashyap, attached to the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC), thinks differently on the issue of prostitution.
The 2009 batch officer claims that legalisation of prostitution has worked well in some countries, but in India the question of morality comes as a stumbling block.
"It (legalising prostitution) has its advantages and disadvantages. They are two sides to a coin. Some countries have done well. Our country has a different view. Morality-immorality and all those things, it`s a policy level question," said Kashyap, who was also speaking at the same function.
He added his comment has the potential to attract "trouble".
Swetlana Cardoso, a woman entrepreneur, agrees with Kashyap that legalising prostitution is a double-edged affair.
"Legalising it in Goa would be inappropriate at the moment, as we are still involved in many other rackets like mining, drugs and more, which are still not taken care of," she said, adding that "if prostitution is made legal, women wouldn`t be forced into prostitution. It would be a matter of choice then, which would also create job opportunities for some."
The IPS couple Kashyap`s views have attracted criticism on social networking sites.
"Every other government officer is ready to give an opinion," says Alfred Pereira, while Marius Fernandes points out that such statements are ill-conceived because officers from central services do not factor in ground realities of the places they are posted in.
"Can he experiment in his own state first?" Marius said on Kashyap`s statement.