Amid row over ban on sale of beef in J&K, legislator from Khansahab constituency in Budgam district, Hakeem Muhammad Yasin, has submitted a bill in the Assembly seeking ban on sale of liquor in the state.
The autumn session of Assembly starts on October 3 and is expected to be stormy in the wake of a row over Dogra-era law that criminalizes sale of beef and cow slaughter in J&K.
Opposition National Conference and some independent members and smaller parties have submitted bills seeking revocation of ban on sale of beef and cow slaughter.
In his bill, Yasin has however sought exemption on sale of liquor and its consumption by tourists visiting the State.
“The tourists should be exempted from the ban. However Government should regulate consumption of liquor by tourists,” he has demanded.
Last Thursday, Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) and head of Muttaheda-Majlis-e-Ulema, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said he would launch an agitation against sale of liquor in Kashmir.
“We will ensure that sale of liquor is banned in Kashmir. It is our religious duty to disallow any activity which is against Islam. Liquor should be completely banned in the Muslim majority state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mirwaiz had said.
Talking to us, Hakeem Yasin said liquor was “a root cause of many evils prevalent in the society.”
“It is a threat to our future generations and that is what prompted me to bring the bill,” said the MLA.
The sale of liquor is on rise in J&K and as per statistics, J&K registered sale of over 500 lakh bottles of various types of liquor in 2013-14.
In 2011-12, the State recorded a sale of 465.62 lakh bottles and it was 432.79 lakh bottles in 2009-10.
In 2014, the Government informed the Assembly that J&K generates revenue of Rs 637 crore, out of total Rs 6700 crore, from sale of liquor including Rs 420 crore from the excise duty and Rs 217 crore from sales tax.
As the then opposition member Abdul Haq Khan of Peoples Democratic Party (now Rural Development Minister) had in 2013 moved a bill seeking ban on sale of liquor, his party MLA Sayed Bashir had next year moved cut motion seeking ban on sale and consumption of liquor.
However the then Finance Minister had opposed the ban on sale of liquor saying: “It is not possible to impose a ban on manufacturing, sale and consumption of alcohol in the state, as such move would prove counterproductive and result in clandestine smuggling of liquor into the state.”