The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Manipur government is facing stiff opposition from civil society members for its proposed move to give licences to liquor producers in a bid to generate revenue, reported Imphal Free Press. The controversial Manipur Liquor Prohibition (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018, was tabled in the state Assembly on Friday and is likely to be passed on Monday.
On Saturday, the All Manipur Women’s Social Reformation and Development Samaj organised a rally in Imphal against the bill. “We oppose the bill to save the youth of the state,” said Thokchom Ramani, the president of the women’s outfit. “If the bill is passed, we will join hands with other women organisations and agitate until it is withdrawn.”
Authorities stopped the group during their rally from Keishampat to the chief minister’s office, and allowed only five representatives to submit a memorandum of their demands to Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
The Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol also held a sit-in demonstration across the state on Saturday. One of the demonstrators, Shanti Leima, told The Telegraph that instead of amending the liquor prohibition law, the Assembly should pass a law to prohibit trafficking of drugs in the state.
According to CADA, 53% men and 6% women consume liquor in the state. It will be a “fatal mistake” to take the decision with a narrow view to improve the state’s economy, said the organisation. CADA members also cited the example of Bihar. They said Bihar’s crime rate fell about 30% in a month after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar banned liquor in the state.
Manipur was declared a dry state in 1991. In 2002, the ban was lifted in the five hill districts through an amendment to the law.