Why promote alcoholism?
Jammu and Kashmir is predominantly a Muslim majority region with Kashmir valley having almost 100 percent Muslim population. The people here follow Islam and have been doing so since centuries now. Despite this, the place has always exhibited true values of secularism and promoted communal harmony of the highest order.
The Kashmiri society has been one which has been tolerant to the extent that all faiths and religions have been promoted here and given enough space to flourish. This unique character reflected in our character and psyche has at times been given the sobriquet of Kashmiriyat, one which many leaders even in India-termed as a unique model which needs to be replicated elsewhere.
Having said all this, Kashmir was one of the very few places that allowed sale and promotion of those ingredients that are considered forbidden in Islam. One such commodity is alcohol. Though Muslims are forbidden its use, Kashmir still was never declared as a ‘dry state’-meaning that sale of alcohol was not considered as a crime and this commodity was sold without and hindrance at several places.
All this was done so that the tourists and other non-Muslims who visit this place can avail the purchase of alcohol for their use. However, the past three decades have witnessed an increased consumption of liquor in Kashmir and a sizeable population, mainly young adults have fallen prey to the consumption of this unwanted and undesired commodity. And to cap it all the government has now actively decided to promote alcoholism in Kashmir.
Many legal and illegal outlets have sprung up in various parts of Kashmir valley where people can get the commodity and consume it. Though various groups, mainly religious and social, have been opposing it tooth and nail, it hardly has changed anything on ground.
Since the issue has been widely discussed and many forums and other civil society groups have been creating awareness among the youth over the malice of alcoholism, the role of the government has at many times raised some eyebrows.
One important question that haunts all the able minded people in Kashmir is that if the government wants the youth to get involved in constructive activities, why is such a loathsome activity being promoted officially which will spell disaster for the entire young populace here.
If the government wants the youth to be part of nation building then why alcoholism is being promoted as the government has already announced to open around 70 retail outlets in Kashmir that will be exclusively selling liquor.
Isn’t this a contradiction with regard to what the government says it believes in, and what is actually promotes on ground. This is a question where the government needs to come clean.
Promoting alcoholism and its sale and use in every nook and corner of Kashmir valley is surely being done under a sinister plan. This plan has been conceived to ruin our posterity and we all need to stand up and offer our collective response to it. Time to break our silence on this issue has come and we all need to stand up collectively. After all such decisions having huge implications cannot be thrust on the people.