Thursday, July 13, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Women join battle against liquor
From Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

PUNHANA (Gurgaon), July 12 — In a development which is likely to warm the cockles of the hearts of the anti-liquor lobby in Haryana, hundreds of women held demonstrations before a Minister from the state, Mohammad Illyas and the Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, Mr Apoorva Kumar Singh, demanding immediate removal of a liquor vend from near village Indana, a few kilometres from here.

The development is construed by many as a sign of growing consciousness among the women about their empowerment and their efforts to break free from the shackles of men.

According to observers, its the first time in Haryana that so many women collectively defied tradition to come out of the confines of their home and agitate for their cause.

According to conservative estimates the number of woman participating in the demonstration was over 500, including adults, adolescents and teenagers.

Their common complaint was that drunkard passed obscene comments when the women passed near the vend. Some of the women expressed strong sentiments about the influence of alcohol on young children and the curtailment of mobility of women of the area because of the unruly behaviour of drunkards.

According to residents of the area, women had been suffering the indignities for a long time and were waiting for an opportune moment to vent their anger. That opportunity came in the Deputy Commissioner’s “Janata durbar”. The presence of Mohammad Illiyas, a popular leader of Mewat proved to be the icing on the cake.

The development assumes still more importance as it occurred in this conservative area. The crowd had representatives from only 12 villages around Indana, in the Mewat area of this district.

Yet so transparent was the cause of agitationists that Mr Mohammad Illiyas and Mr Apoorva Kumar Singh instantly empathised with their cause and assured them that at the time of next auction for the liquor vends their demands would be registered. Interestingly the state government had given the option to village panchayats to pass a resolution in case they did not want liquor vends in their villages and the vend could not have come up without the consent of the village panchayat.

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