After three die at Sunburn Festival, Goa BJP minister blames people for attending event

After three tourists died at the Sunburn Electronic Dance Music (EDM) Festival, state Culture Minister Govind Gawade on Monday said that “no one forced people to attend the event.”

Three tourists died in the last three days after collapsing at the festival venue at Vagator beach in North Goa district.

Asked about criticism of the government for allowing the event in the state, Mr Gawade said, “The government is not forcing the youth to go and attend the Sunburn festival. They go on their own. No one is forced to go there.”

The three-day Sunburn festival concluded on Sunday. On Friday, two tourists from Andhra Pradesh collapsed after feeling uneasy while standing outside the festival venue. They were taken to a hospital where doctors declared them dead, police said.

The postmortem was conducted and the opinion on the cause of death was reserved as the viscera was sent for further forensic examination, they said.

On Sunday night, another tourist from Bengaluru complained of uneasiness at the venue and later died, minutes after being rushed to a hospital, they said.

Mr Gawade said the government was not responsible for such a massive crowd at the festival.

“We are not distributing any passes to anyone. It is the music enthusiasts who like to go there, they do it out of their own wish,” the minister said.

The Congress alleged that drugs were “openly sold” at the venue and demanded that permission for the EDM festival be revoked and an inquiry be conducted.

The Goa Forward Party (GFP) sought a CBI probe in the deaths.