Yet another tourist visiting the controversial yet popular EDM (electronic dance music) festival Sunburn in Goa collapsed and died after being rushed to a hospital, taking the toll of deaths that took place in and around the venue of the festival to three and prompting a heated political debate over the availability of drugs in the coastal tourist destination.
Sandeep Kotta, 24, a resident of Bengaluru, was shifted to hospital in an unconscious state from the Sunburn venue at Vagator beach in Goa on Sunday evening but died while undergoing treatment, the police said.
According to eyewitnesses, Kotta complained of uneasiness before collapsing.
Kotta is the third visitor to the EDM music venue to die. On the first day of the festival, two friends , Sai Prasad Malayala and Venkat Satyanarayana, both from Andhra Pradesh collapsed while waiting in a queue to enter the venue and were declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
To be sure, police are yet to confirm the cause of deaths, but the age of the dead ,Kotta was 24, Malayala, 30, and Satyanarayana, 24 and the fact that the festival has always been a bit of a politically sensitive issue have been enough to see politicians enter the debate.
“Do we really need events like Sunburn to promote tourism? Can we not redefine our priorities in this sector? Let’s ponder,” Rajendra Arlekar, a former minister, speaker and senior figure in the BJP, tweeted.
His comments come after chief minister Pramod Sawant said the government supports events such as Sunburn solely to promote tourism in the state.
Opposition parties have blamed the availability of narcotics in the state for the deaths, which they claim appear to be on account of an overdose.
However, the police, while not ruling out that the deaths are due to drug overdose, are awaiting the final report of the post mortem inquiry to ascertain the cause of death.
Doctors at the Goa Medical College and Hospital have reserved their verdict on the cause of death in the case of the first two who died, pending analysis of the viscera which has been sent to a forensic laboratory outside the state. The final report could arrive in eight days, the police said.
The Congress, alleging a cover up to protect the event’s image, has demanded that a special investigation team be set up to probe the deaths.
The Goa Police have denied that drugs are freely available at the venue of the festival.