‘Alcohol promotion will hurt sentiments of Muslims’
Demanding complete ban on sale and consumption of liquor in J&K, several separatist leaders on Monday said Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim-majority state and the stand taken by PDP-BJP government regarding liquor promotion “will hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.”
In a joint statement, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik said if this substance can be banned in Bihar and Kerala, why can’t it be done in Muslim majority state like Jammu and Kashmir.
“Sale and distribution of alcohol and other dangerous drugs have patronage of the government and this menace is acquiring serious trend with each passing day,” the separatist leaders said, adding: “How could its sale be justified here.”
Strongly condemning the ‘Freedom of Choice’ stance of the government in this regard, the leaders said: “This stand has no moral justification and the selective freedom of choice slogan sounds absurd when ‘freedom of expression’ is being badly muzzled by the same government. No civilized society endorses the sale and trade of liquor or other similar products as everybody knows the seriousness of its impact on the health and moral principles in the society.”
The separatist leaders said liquor is becoming a major reason for the deteriorating social setup and values, adding: “We will jointly start a public consensus in this regard and launch a movement to eradicate this menace from the society.”
Regarding setting up of Pandit townships and Sainik colonies in Kashmir, they said people will never allow them to be established. Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik cautioned the government that Kashmiris will oppose the plan at every level.
The trio said that Government’s policy was still not clear about the Sainik colonies and Pandit townships and they have decided to monitor the situation closely in this regard. “Whenever we will feel that the government is preparing to implement this plan, we will resist it tooth and nail,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, appealing people to organize special prayers in Masajid (Mosques) on the occasion of Jumat-ul-Wida (last Friday of Ramadhan) for the freedom of Palestine and Kashmir, the three leaders said: “These are the two serious issues and the durable peace and stability in the world is far-fetched dream till these disputes are resolved in accordance to the wishes of Palestinians and Kashmiris.”
“Palestine and Kashmir issues have nothing to do with terrorism and the people of these regions are struggling for their birth and basic rights since last seven decades. Both the regions have many similarities and the occupational forces in these regions are unleashing worst kind of atrocities upon the local people. Killings, rapes, extrajudicial killings, forced custodial disappearances, destruction of public property by the forces is a routine in these regions,” they said, adding that they are preparing a resolution in this regard which will be passed by the people during Friday congregational prayer meetings on Jumat-ul-Wida.
Meanwhile, police on Monday foiled a protest march of Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) against sale of liquor in the state.
Protestors led by KEA vice chairman Farooq Ahmad Dar assembled at Press Enclave here and raised anti-government slogans.
As the protestors tried to take out a march towards Assembly, police swung into action and detained scores of them along with Farooq Dar near Residency Road.
Earlier, talking to media persons, Dar said “that liquor has been banned in various states including Kerala, Bihar and Gujarat. Why is the Government of Jammu and Kashmir hesitating to ban it here?.”
“The state of J&K is generating revenue of Rs 500 crore from the liquor while Bihar generated Rs 6000 crore revenue from it. Still, Bihar showed courage and banned it,” he said. KEA appealed Islamic scholars, Molvis, civil society and other social, political and religious organizations to unite for the cause to make J&K liquor free.