The Jammu and Kashmir administration plans to open about 200 liquor shops in Jammu and Kashmir, 67 of which will be in the Valley. The move has drawn opposition from religious leaders in the Valley, who said they will oppose it.
In a letter to J&K’s Financial Commissioner, Excise Commissioner Rajesh Kumar Shavan sought approval to start the process.
“As per survey conducted and in exercise of the powers under Rule 28 of J&K Liquor & License Rules 1984 & section 4(B) of the Excise Act, a total list of 183 locations including 116 in Jammu and 67 in the zones of Kashmir is enclosed,” Shavan wrote in the letter dated June 16. “It is requested that necessary approval may kindly be granted enabling to proceed further strictly under the rules by way of any transparent method, either e-auctioning zone wise or location wise as the government deems fit as a matter of policy.”
The letter suggests the opening of 183 liquor vends in the Union territory — 116 in Jammu and 67 in the Valley. The list of proposed sites in the Valley includes 18 in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, eight in Srinagar and seven each in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal and Budgam. In south Kashmir, the government has proposed the opening of six liquor vends in Shopian, five in Anantnag and four each in Pulwama and Kulgam. While four vends have been proposed for Kupwara, three will be set up in Bandipore.
While liquor is sold freely in Jammu province, there are very few shops and bars in the Valley — mostly in Srinagar and some tourist locations.
The new proposal to open liquor stores across Kashmir — especially in far-off villages — is triggering disquiet in the predominantly Muslim Valley as Islam prohibits the consumption of liquor.
“This is an attack on our culture and we will oppose it,” Grand Mufti Nasir ul Islam told The Indian Express. “We will call (a meeting of) all religious leaders and discuss the strategy on how to stop it. As of now, I can’t say how we will go about it but it will be opposed with our full might.”
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