The anti-liquor campaign in Madhya Pradesh is taking a violent turn with protesters torching vehicles and liquor shops.
In a span of 24 hours, two separate incidents of violence by anti-liquor squads were reported in Burhanpur and Raisen districts.
Led mostly by women, people in various parts of the state have been protesting against liquor shops and demanding a total prohibition in Madhya Pradesh.
Following the Supreme Court's order banning sale of liquor near highways and the Madhya Pradesh government's own ban on liquor shops within 500 metres of Narmada, several liquor shops now have to be relocated.
Since the SC order, anti-liquor protesters have taken to the streets to ensure liquor shops do not relocate to residential areas.
HERE IS ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW ANTI-LIQUOR CAMPAIGN HAS TURNED VIOLENT:
- Anti-liquor protesters today set fire to a fridge and liquor bottles outside a newly opened shop in Pragatai Nagar area, which is close to the municipal corporation office in Burhanapur.
- The protestors, mostly women, opposed shifting of the liquor shop from the highway to their locality.
- On Wednesday evening, a similar incident was reported in Kigni Road area of Raisen district. More than 100 protesters reportedly stopped excise officials and liquor shop owners from shifting their shops to their locality.
- A liquor shop employee allegedly pointed a gun at protesters following which violence broke out. Six people were injured in the violence while five vehicles of the excise department were torched.
- In Sagar district, a liquor shop had to down its shutters following protests by angry residents, particularly women and children, over the shop running from a residential area. Unidentified persons torched a liquor shop running from a tent in Vallabh Nagar area.
- In Chhatarpur district's Satai Road, women and children blocked traffic for over three hours while protesting against shifting liquor shops to residential areas.
- Similar protests have been reported from Vidisha, Narsinghpur, Satna, Morena, Dewas and Indore districts over the past five days.
- Finance minister Jayant Malaiya said he too was in favour of prohibition and claimed that banning liquor will not have a significant impact on the state's finances. "I too favour this (prohibition) but women should stop men from consuming liquor. Once no one goes to buy liquor, the shops will automatically shut down," he told India today.
- Jayant Malaiya said excise department officials have been directed to allow liquor shops to be opened only in places that cause least inconvenience to people.
- Rural development minister Gopal Bhargava's son Abhishek Bhargava, who is an office-bearer in the Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, has announced formation of anti-liquor squads. "The squads will comprise women and children and will campaign against prohibition," he said.
- Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has remained non-committal on imposing total prohibition in the state although he has repeatedly said that no new liquor shops would be opened in the state.