Demands blanket ban on booze
SRINAGAR: Demanding a blanket ban on the use and sale of liquor in Jammu and Kashmir, Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani on Monday urged Islamic scholars and Ulemas to launch a sustained awareness campaign, highlighting its ill effects on people.
He took a dig at state legislature members for claiming that banning the sale of liquor will hit the state exchequer, describing it as “totally unjustified”.
“Four states of India that have completely banned the sale of liquor do not complain of any loss of revenue and even nobody is dying from hunger or poverty there,” Geelani said.
The 85-year-old leader, who is living under house detention at his Hyderpora residence, termed public support for a liquor ban “encouraging”, saying, “We hope everybody plays their role in eradicating this evil from society.”
Geelani maintained that India is responsible for the “loot” and “plunder” of the state’s resources and said it was “unethical” and “unwise” to justify allowing the sale of liquor for a meagre revenue.
“The state is rich in water, electricity, forests and may other natural resources. However, the authorities in New Delhi are busy in looting them from the very first day. The state rulers have not only maintained a criminal silence over this loot but are extending it every possible support just for the sake of their self interest and to stay in power,” he said.
“Liquor is the mother of all evils which does not only cause cancer-like disease but also disturbs the social fabric by giving birth to many social evils. Consumption of alcohol destroys the sacred and holy relations of the society and it has become a major cause of domestic violence in societies.
“Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim majority state, and alcohol and its products are totally forbidden for them. From the very first day, we opposed the use and sale of alcohol in the state, but the ruling class has always acted as a hurdle in the way, and they have allowed the liquor business and even provided security and perks to those dealing with its trade.”
The octogenarian leader recalled that he opposed the liquor bill when he was a member of the Legislative Assembly in 1978, but the then government opposed him on the plea that the trade is required for boosting the tourism industry.
Accusing the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of a “submissive” approach for securing favours from Delhi, Geelani called PDP legislators “mere pawns” and “puppets”, saying “they have virtually handed over reigns to BJP cadre and are following their dictates with their eyes closed”.