By Haroon Reshi
SRINAGAR: Several social and religious groups plan organising an ‘anti-liquor campaign week’ next month to pressurise the government into bringing a law against the sale an consumption of alcohol in the state.
The campaign comprises seminars and workshops on the issue, said Shaikh Ghulam Rasool, head of socio-religious organisation Sheikh Ghulam Rasool.
“The purpose of the drive is to push the government into declaring J&K a dry state. We have already started the consensus building process to take every relevant person and group on board,” Sheikh told Kashmir Reader on Wednesday.
He said the ban on alcohol trade imposed by the Bihar government recently has encouraged his organization to push for its own efforts.
“If such a ban can be successfully implemented in Bihar, why not in Kashmir?” he said.
The anti-liquor campaign might be supported by the Valley’s pro-freedom groups as well.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who heads Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulema, a conglomerate of more than 40 religious groups of various schools of thought, said, “We had launched a comprehensive Valley-wide campaign against alcohol trade and other social evils a few years ago. We will intensify the campaign in coming days.”
Alcohol consumption has risen in the Valley in the past few years, From Rs 517 crore in 2009-10, alcohol sale revenue for the government rose to Rs 1008 crore last financial year.
Senior pro-freedom leader and chairman of Hurriyat (G), Syed Ali Geelani, sees the significant growth of alcohol consumption in the Muslim majority Valley as a result of “cultural aggression against Kashmiris by New Delhi.”
“India has been conspiring to break the morality of Kashmiri youth to disengage them from the resistance movement. This is why we have seen growing trends of alcohol consumption and drug addiction among youngsters,” Geelani told Kashmir Reader.
Syeda Aasiya andrabi, chairperson of the Dukhtaran Millat, while echoing Geelani’s views said that not only alcohol consumption but other intoxicants too are “destroying our youths”.
“This is a grave situation. All social and religious groups have a moral responsibility to unite and fight this evil,” she added.