Kashmir Says Cheers!

Kashmir Says Cheers!

15 March 2012
DNA


Srinagar: Liquor will continue to flow in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir, thanks to the Omar Abdullah government, which has refused to give in to the pressure of Muslim clergy and separatists to announce prohibition in the state. “Prohibition in some states has failed to contain this menace. Prohibition orders in Andhra Pradesh and Haryana were withdrawn within two years of implementation because they have proved counterproductive giving rise to inter-state smuggling of liquor and also led to a boom in manufacture of illicit liquor and consequent deaths of poor consumers,” said Abdul Rahim Rather, J&K minister for finance, while replying to the discussion on demand for grants in the assembly. However, the finance minister called for massive awareness about liquor consumption in the state as a balancing act to placate the conservative constituency in the Valley. “I have not issued even a single liquor licence and shall not do it in future. There is a need for massive awareness campaign against liquor consumption and its negative effects,” Rather said. Angry over the government’s stand, the hard-line faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani has accused the Omar Abdullah government of deliberately trying to boost liquor consumption to “morally corrupt” the youth of the Valley. “Boosting liquor sales is a design to corrupt the society particularly the youth in Kashmir, which is a land of saints and priests,” a spokesman of the Hurriyat said. Muslim clergy is holding a meeting to chalk out the future course of action following the government’s decision.