Belagavi Women’s groups to join padayatra from Jan. 19 seeking complete Prohibition


Published: 19/01/2019



The 12-day march will start at Science College Grounds in Chitradurga

Women’s groups from Belagavi will join a State-wide padayatra seeking complete Prohibition in the State this weekend. Thousands of women will gather in Chitradurga and march to Bengaluru, while addressing rallies en route. Sri Murugha Sharana, seer of the Chitradurga mutt, will speak at the inauguration.

The 12-day march is being organised by Madya Nisheda Andolana, an umbrella organisation that includes Rajya Mahila Okkoota, Nava Jivana Mahila Sangha, Jagruga Mahila Okkoota and Grameena Koolikarmikara Sangha.

It will start at the Science College Grounds in Chitradurga on January 19 and end in Bengaluru on January 30.

The opening rally will see heads of various religious institutions who will express solidarity with the women seeking the ban on liquor consumption, production, distribution and sale in the State.

The march will pass through Kyadigere, Hosuru, Nityananda Ashrama, Javagondana Halli, Tavara Kere, Sira, Chikkanahalli, Dodda Aladama Mara Cross, CB Temple, Darga Bellavi Cross, Tumakuru, Sidda Ganga Mutt, Adi Chunchanagiri Mutt, Kulavanahalli, T. Begur, Dasanapura, Exhibition Grounds and Yeshwantpur, before ending at the Vidhana Soudha. Several mutts have volunteered to the host the protestors along the way, said Sharada Gopal, coordinator of the Jagruta Mahila Okkoota, a constituent of the andolana. She said that there was a very positive response for the effort from all quarters and over 3,000 women were expected to participate.

Alcoholism remains one of the biggest reasons for poverty, domestic violence, broken homes, crime and rising health costs. Several women are widowed every year due to incessant drinking by men. Alcohol has to be prohibited, Ms. Gopal said.

Damayanti Jadhav, who will be part of a contingent from Belagavi, said that she had seen numerous families ruined by men who are in the habit of drinking. It is also an easy tool to force men to vote during elections. A candidate has to only distribute liquor to secure victory. What he has done in the past or what he will do in the future does not matter. If liquor is stopped, then, it may lead to thoughtful choices before polls, she added.

Abhay Kumar, a community organiser with Grakoos, said that the argument that liquor sales bring revenue to the government was not good enough to support a social evil. The socio-economic costs of alcoholism far outweigh the losses to society. People fall sick, neglect their families, force their children into child labour, push their families into poverty, and become socio-paths and criminals. The State spends more money fixing these things than it earns through the sale of liquor.

There is an immediate need for such a movement, says Dilip Kamat, Belagavi-based activist. He said that there was an attempt by the elite to give credibility to drinking terming it social drinking or part of etiquette. It is time we realise that all kinds of drinking are harmful and need to be stopped. There needs to be a proper law in place to ensure complete Prohibition, he said.