Madhya Pradesh Social Justice Minister Gopal Bhargava has devised a couple of novel methods to deal with liquor menace in his Assembly constituency. He is gifting cloth washing bats to the newly-weds and mobile phones to panchayat workers to thrash the alcoholics, including husbands, and the illicit liquor sellers.
Speaking to India Today, the MP Minister said, "I have gifted 700 mogris to the brides in my Assembly constituency of Rahli in Sagar district to save themselves from drunkard husbands."
Mogris or mogarias are small wooden bats used to thrash and wash clothes.
On the bats are printed messages like "sharabiyon ke sutara hetu bhent (gift to keep drunkards in check)" and "police nahi bolegi (the police will not speak)".
Asked whether he was encouraging violence and sowing the seeds of disharmony in the house of a bride's in-laws, Gopal Bhargava said, "In fact, it is the other way round. The brides become victims of violence at the hands of their drunkard husbands and in-laws. They are forced to commit suicide. Hence, I have told these newly-weds that instead of committing suicide and silently bearing the violence, they should retaliate in self-defence."
Gopal Bhargava said there has been a marked improvement in the situation. "I would get a survey done very soon to get tangible results," he said.
The MP Minister said illicit liquor supply has become a nuisance in the state. There was no problem with the legal liquor shops. But liquor is now being supplied and surreptitiously delivered at home on phone and even on credit. This was spoiling the families. Women and children were the worst victims, he said.
HOME MINISTRY FAILED IN CURBING MENACE
Gopal Bhargava also said the Excise Department and the Home Ministry had failed in curbing the menace. His Social Justice Department's campaigns through posters and hoardings had also failed to convince the men to forsake the drinking habits. Hence, he was forced to come up with fresh ideas.
The second experiment to be launched by the MP Minister is the formation of women groups like the one shown in Hindi movie 'Gulabi Gang'. These 'gulabi gangs' would attack the bootleggers.
He said women from each panchayat and ward are being selected to form a group of 15 to 20 people who would patrol at night. These women have been gifted mobile phones worth Rs 3,000. They have been given the phone numbers of the police, excise and administrative officers.
"I have told them to call me if the officials do not listen to them," he said.
Gopal Bhargava further said "We are left with no choice but to resort to these tactics because both Excise Department and the Police blame each other for the thriving liquor mafia. Even Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has told the police officials in his public meetings on several occasions to check the menace of liquor."
The MP Minister said the two initiatives have been launched on experimental basis. He would get the impact survey of these initiatives done to replicate throughout the state.