SRINAGAR: Pro-freedom and religious leaders on Saturday passed a resolution demanding a complete ban on liquor in the state.
The leaders were speaking at a ‘Peoples’ Parliament’ organised in Srinagar by Karwan-i-Islami, which calls itself a non-political, religious and social organisation.
The speakers stressed upon the need for creating awareness against liquor trade, while blaming the government for killing a bill, submitted by MLA Hakeem Muhammad Yasin, seeking a ban on liquor in the recently concluded assembly session.
A similar bill was submitted last year by ruling party’s MLA Abdul Haq Khan, but the demand gained strength after Jammu high court wing’s order calling for a strict enforcement of a law criminalising slaughter of bovine animals and sale of beef in the state.
Chairman Karwan-i-Islami Sheikh Ghulam Rasool Hami said the assembly evaded a discussion on liquor bill “because of a well-planned conspiracy”.
He said the organisation had filed a PIL in the high court, seeking ban on liquor.
“We don’t expect justice from any institution including the government or courts,” said Hami.
The state government, asked by the high court to file a response to Hami’s PIL, had replied that it was not possible to ban liquor trade as it will cost the exchequer Rs 800 crore.
Hami said the government leases out land for bars, but does not allow religious congregations.
“It’s not the responsibility of clerics only… every individual has a role to stop this trade. We don’t expect justice from the government. But we want to raise our voice even if we are put behind the bars,” he added.
Chairman JKLF Mohammad Yasin Malik stressed upon religious preachers to educate parents about their responsibilities towards their children.
“Children feel isolated because parents don’t spend time with them. We should think about the problem of drug addiction as well and also think about how we can stop our youngsters from consuming drugs,” Malik said.
Raja Mehraj-ud-din, a senior representative of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani, Raja Mehraj-ud-din, said liquor is being used by the government and its agencies as a tool to divert attention of people from the freedom struggle.
“A majority of people want ban on liquor but such shops have been protected by police. We should jointly fight against it besides other problems,” he said.
Masroor Abbas Ansari, a senior leader of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, suggested that the demand for a ban on liquor should not be looked through religious prism.
“We should not relate it with our religion, rather it should be our national cause. We should raise awareness against it,” Ansari said.
A religious scholar, Syed Bilal Kirmani, said that except Syed Ali Geelani, nobody had protested against the liquor bill, when it was passed in the assembly in the 1970s.