With a Goan DJ lying on a hospital bed with his nose broken, badly bleeding, beaten mercilessly by a gang of goons, most of them local boys on an ego trip, it is time we give up the right to ever say that outsiders cause trouble and disturb the peace of Goa. Goa was kicked in the solar plexus on Tuesday night, when DJ and karaoke singer Ashwin Alvares was almost killed, allegedly by a group reportedly led by the local duo of Freddy Menezes and Anthony Menezes.
Ashwin was playing at Goodman Bar and Restaurant at Colva and the accused in the assault Freddy Menezes and Anthony Fernandes were also sitting at the same restaurant. When Ashwin refused to entertain Karaoke requests after 11.30 pm as he had to wind up by midnight Freddy then sent his bouncers to intimidate Ashwin. Ashwin however wound up sharp at midnight, as per the rules.
According to eyewitnesses and those who have commented on the incident on social media, “When Ashwin went to load his car, one attacker Anthony shut the car and knocked down his equipment after which all the goons surrounded him. Then Freddy broke his nose with the first punch. And his buddies started punching him from all sides. Ashwin felt the blood gushing out and ran into the light of the restaurant and the other guests saw what was happening and held them off. One of the bouncer guys even brought out his baseball bat but did not get to use it.” (Excerpt from a Facebook post).
While Ashwin is, by the grace of God on the road to recovery, the same cannot be said of the land he and we live in. Goa has lost its soul completely or else why would a DJ or karaoke singer, earning his soul when a man doing one of the most pleasurable things in Goa, singing, has to face the brunt of such goondaism.
And who led the assault? Not a drunken tourist but a man who ran a restaurant in Colva, who just wanted to literally throw his weight and establish that that everyone on the beach danced to his tunes. Have we degenerated, from a society where going to the beach for dinner and music and a spot of dancing, with family members, will be a thing of the past? When a simple outing can pose these unheard of dangers and when musicians will have to move with security cover? When we see such horrific pictures of a DJ dripping in blood, it rips the veneer of joyous civility, the mask that Goa wears , for the outside world.
MaryAnn Ross writes in a Facebook post to ask some very relevant questions, “Where is the security for our entertainers if they aren't even safe in Goa. What can we expect from outsiders when our own Goans resort to such goonda-giri. And just to let you all know the person who beat up Ashwin Alvares, the DJ, is Freddy who used to run Shalom in Colva near Margarita club and another guy was Anthony. And the remaining we're friends of theirs. IS THIS WHAT GOA IS REDUCED TOO !!!!!!”
There is a clear lack of fear of the law and the policing system, with businessmen along the coast, in a cozy nexus with the local police.
To restore even a semblance of face and instil some hope, that a bit of the Goa we knew remains, the assaulters must be immediately tacked, arrested and severely punished. Let the law show some gumption, to bring order to a Goa which is slip sliding away.