People’s movements from 15 states have launch Nasha Mukt Bharat Andolan, pledging to make a drugs and liquor free society. A National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) report:
Drug menace and liquor have cursed the Indian society for long. Women, children and largely the society has suffered a lot and impacted the overall development of the society. A large number of crimes involve the overuse of drugs and consumption of alcohol. There has been a continuous debate around the issue of prohibition, drug abuse and the negative social and economic consequences of it. Recent events have added fuel to the fire. There have been protests happening for long in different states of India. Largely women stood up against the menace supported by youth at many places like in Tamilnadu. The issue has made its space in political campaigns looking its social and economic impact.
On July 1, representatives of strong people’s movements came together during the National Convention on Anti-Drug and Anti Liquor Campaign organized by National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) at Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi, and launched a united movement called “Nasha Mukt Bharat Andolan” to make the society drug and liquor free looking at people voices and their urge for the same.
However, behind this is the sustained struggle of people’s movements, community organisations, women’s groups and others for a very long time. Many of the organisations and people’s struggles along with National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) have also been raising the issue of liquor prohibition in various states. In connection to this issue, our fellow comrade Shashi Perumal and Social Worker and onetime MLA Gursharan Singh Chhabra lost his life during the anti-liquor campaign in Tamil Nadu and after a 32 day fast for the cause in Rajasthan last year. They will always be an inspiration to us for continuing the struggle. The convention started with paying homage to them followed with discussion on challenges ahead.
Representatives from 15 states namely, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Odisha, Gujarat, Tamilnadu, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Karnataka, and Kerala had come to the convention and discussed the present situation in their state. Women and Children are severely affected by the menace in every states leading to loss of social and economic capital. A mere interest of liquor lobby and drug dealers have been protected by various governments, who are meant to protect the interest of people. Revenue loss is a farce reason stated by government. where we are observing the loss of human resource and rise in conflicts due to the same. The states have defied their mandate of democracy and for long denied the voices of poor and deprived repressed section of the society mainly the women and children of the society who are facing the consequences of the liquor and drugs.
Nation has suffered a massive loss of lives and livelihood due to the consequences. States, where liquor prohibition was effective, has repealed or amended it to mere revenue collection and promotes corruption. The sale of liquor is now evident from shops in cities to national highways. It is available more easily than the water in a country where people have faced three time continuous drought.
In hilly areas of Uttarakhand, it has been provided more freely, evidently to please the tourists not to the local demands. Women were forced to come out of their villages and protest against liquor and drugs mafia, burnt local shops when they have seen the rising domestic violence and future of youth in dark.
Police in Maharashtra Government have filed cases against the protesters rather than acting against the liquor mafias and the people engaging in criminal activities and creating unrest after consuming drugs and alcohol.
Rajasthan Government have imposed prohibition in 1980s but later bowed down to the liquor mafia and removed the prohibition which was brought after 12 years of struggle. More than 5000 people have died and 25 lakhs people have destroyed their life socially, economically, and due to impact on health. People suffer a loss of revenue 100 times the revenue earned by government. annually. Similarly many districts and villages prohibited liquor but later the ban is lifted by state governments.
Government rather than listening to the people’s issues are hand in gloves with mafias and corporates showing revenue loss a reason. Now in certain states, liquor is being allowed for sale in departmental stores as in Delhi and they opened huge number of shops for sale of liquor as in Tamilnadu.
With the introduction of total prohibition in Bihar state as a fulfillment of election promise and closing down of 500 TASMAC shops in Tamilnadu has raised the issue again politically and largely supported by people of the both states.
Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, came to the convention and talked about the people’s response and huge reduction in criminal activities categorically after the prohibition. He also promised to join the movement not as the CM but as a member and activist for the cause.
Medha Patkar, a social activist and leader, appealed to all the people’s movements, organisations and social activists to join the movement and bring people’s voices together against the rising consequences of drug abuse and liquor. She demanded the liquor prohibition with slogan of ‘Paani Chahiye, Sharab Nahi’ when India is facing third time severe drought to the scale of national disaster.
With the large demands from people’s movements, the convention concluded with below mentioned decisions.
– The fight will continue under the banner of ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat Andolan’
– People’s Movements and organisations of all 15 states present in the convention will join others and go ahead together to raise issues and campaign state wise.
– A group of lawyers will start analysing the present laws and acts, and will draft a required national legislation on drug and liquor prohibition.
– Campaign will be carried out in villages to pass the resolution in Gram Sabhas for liquor prohibition. The resolution will be collected and released timely.
With these decisions, A number of programme were also decided.
– 31st July in Tamilnadu – Convention on Anti Drug and Liquor prohibition
– 15 days Yatra in the month of September in 30 districts of Madhya Pradesh
– 2nd Aug to 9th Aug – Yatra in Mumbai
– In July or August – convention on the liquor prohibition
– September last week – Convention in Odisha
– Punjab – Campaign will start from August.
Apart from this, letters will be sent to Panchayats, political representatives and legislators to discuss on this in their constituency or at state or national level to address the consequences of drugs and liquor.
A nationwide Yatra has also been decided from 02nd October end on 12th October. The next meeting of the coordination committee will be held on 31st July in Barwani, Madhya Pradesh and will be hosted by Narmada Bachao Andolan.