Religious, political orgs demand withdrawal of order
Srinagar: Despite clarification, the government’s plan to open more liquor shops in Kashmir drew strong opposition from religious, political organisations and Kashmir doctors body on Sunday.
A day ago, the excise department document showed 64 locations have been identified in Kashmir for liquor vends.
Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of socio-religious organisations, said that any move by the administration to open liquor shops across the length and breadth of the Valley will be strongly opposed and resisted.
“The government order which is widely circulating on social media clearly stating governments plan to set up liquor shops at 67 locations in Kashmir valley is causing grave concern and anguish among the Muslims of the valley,” it said in a statement.
“It is malafide that this government in the midst of the major global pandemic when all energies are focused on the fight against it is instead busy bringing in ordinances and rules to change the demography of the Muslim majority state and now by such orders is further assaulting our Muslim identity and values and hurting our religious sentiments .
It asked the government to immediately withdraw this “immoral” and “anti-Islam” order .
Similarly, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) too opposed the move saying such decisions are bound to endure an onslaught on Kashmir’s cultural ethos.
In a statement, former legislator and senior leader of the party Zaffar Iqbal Manhas said that the government’s proposal to open liquor shops at around 183 newly identified locations in J&K including 67 in Kashmir valley is “totally unacceptable as the decision is bound to have disastrous consequences for peace in the region”.
He said that the decision is highly condemnable and spread “immorality among the local youth who are already fighting against the drug menace”.
“Kashmir is a land of sufis and saints and such obnoxious proposals are mooted to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere, Manhas added.
He cited examples of Gujarat, Bihar, Nagaland, Mizoram and Lawkshdeep which are coping with the lockdown despite a ban on liquor sale and consumption. “Why to choose predominantly Muslim areas of Kashmir Valley for opening large scale liquor sale points when there is no such requirement?” he asked.
Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) too called for a complete ban on sale and consumption of alcohol in the valley.
“Promoting liquor culture in the valley is unacceptable,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan. “Alcohol is a major social evil. It has not only destroyed individuals and families, but has spoiled entire societies,” he said.
Dr Nisar said young persons who are vulnerable because of age and proclivity towards intoxication will easily become victims of this menace due to its free availability.
“As alcohol befogs the mind, alcoholics are involved in heinous crimes of rape and murder,” he said.
Dr Nisar said alcohol is responsible for domestic violence resulting in break-ups
“Child abuse is another direct consequence of parental alcohol use,” he added.
Dr Nisar said alcohol kills and causes morbidities. It has deleterious effects on each and every organ of the body. It causes heart attacks, strokes, liver cirrhosis and cancers of mouth, food-pipe, liver and pancreas.
He said alcohol has been banned in many states in India like Gujarat, Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur and Bihar as states are constitutionally bound to prohibit liquor.
“The constitution of India under Article 47 in the directive principle of state policy clears states that ‘the state shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the use and trade of alcohol,” he added.
“If alcohol is banned in many states across the country why not in JK,” asked Dr Nisar.
He said alcohol is Harram (forbidden) in Islam and any earning out of it is also Harram and being Muslim dominated region, the government has an obligation to ban alcohol in the valley.
“Opening liquor shops across the valley will hurt the religious sentiments of people in the valley,” said Dr Nisar.
Rector Darul Uloom Raheemiyyah, Bandipora, too expressed deep concern over the issue. In a statement issued to KNS reads, “It’s quite astonishing, that on one hand, authorities destroy addictive/intoxicated crops and take pride by showing it in the media and on other hand is permitting such an addictive deuced entity to be abundantly available in the market. Such a logic is beyond one’s understanding.
“We want to live our leftover life as per the environment of our belief and according to our faithful deeds. Want to eat and live on sustenance what’s permissible,” it said.