Complete ban on alcohol to be sought

From February 20, women’s groups will start a 71-day agitation seeking a complete ban on alcohol across the State.

The Madhyapana Nishedha Andolana, will be steered by Grameena Koolikarmikara Sangha (Grakoos), a union of MNREGA workers, Belagavi District Workers’ Union, Navajivana Mahila Okkoota (NMO) , and other groups in 10 districts. They will sit on fasts, march to district offices to hand over memoranda and listen to experts and activists about the ill effects of alcohol. Among the speakers will be writer and thinker Devanoor Mahadeva.

“We have held similar such rallies in the past. But in vain. Our experience has been similar with governments of all parties,” said Dileep Kamat, Belagavi-based activist.

In Mumbai-Karnataka, the andolan will be led by religious leaders like Siddharama Swami of Nagnur Rudrakshi mutt and activists like Ram Apte and Shivaji Kaganikar. “We were humbled by the response of women to the rallies we organised in the Rudrakshi mutt in November,” Mr. Kaganikar said.

In Hyderabad-Karnataka, Abhay Kumar, founder of the NMO, will lead the rallies.

Mr. Kumar had organised around 40,000 women who sat in dharna in Raichur last October. “This year, we are spreading the movement out. Women’s groups will organise rallies in all districts where different organisations have a presence. Karnataka State Temperance Board chairman H.C. Rudrappa has said he will recommend total prohibition in the State. This is a welcome development,” Mr. Kumar said, and added that this would not just be a ‘shout in the road’ protest.

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