Belagavi: Today marks the 154th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, and it is being commemorated throughout the country. The celebration pays tribute to Gandhi’s relentless efforts towards India’s independence, founded on the principles of truth, non-violence, and peace. However, a facet of Bapuji’s vision, the aspiration for alcohol-free villages, remains unrealized. In response, women in Belgaum organized a protest, urging for a total prohibition on liquor sales.
On Sunday, women, in collaboration with the Karnataka Liquor Prohibition Movement and the Rural Laborers’ Association, held an hour-long sit-in protest in front of the DC’s office. They voiced their discontent with the government’s proposal to open 1,000 new bars in the state, chanting slogans like “No beer, we need education.” Liquor prohibition activist Anita Belgaonkar remarked, “They may worship Mahatma Gandhi’s image and speak of his principles, but behind the scenes, they issue licenses for bars and liquor shops.” She continued, saying, “This is a significant affront to Bapuji. We will persist in our struggle until bar licenses are revoked. This government is leading the people towards ruin.”
Activist Surekha Shah shared her viewpoint, expressing, “My husband has fallen victim to alcoholism, and I wouldn’t wish this situation on anyone. If it’s a choice between withdrawing government support schemes and closing liquor shops, the latter would allow people to lead more peaceful lives.” She went on to say, “I am currently employed and supporting five children on my own. However, my husband accumulated debts, succumbed to alcoholism, and made our lives extremely difficult. I implore you to close down the liquor shops and rescue us.”
Former Chief Minister Basavaraja Bommai recently voiced his disappointment, describing it as a tragedy that the government failed to supply water during droughts while ensuring the existence of breweries. On the X website, he wrote, “Establishing liquor shops at the panchayat level highlights the government’s ethical bankruptcy.”