Amid the opposition to its proposal to open about 200 liquor vends in the Union Territory, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday said “no policy decision” has been taken in this regard.
The clarification came after religious and political parties vowed to stall any such process in the Valley.
“(The) Finance department has said that there is no policy decision regarding this matter,” the administration said in a release. “(The) Department has said no list of un-served areas has either been considered or approved and no decision will be taken without participation of stakeholders.”
“The public has been urged not to be misled by any half-baked reports in this regard,” the release said.
On June 16, the excise department had, in a letter to the Financial Commissioner, sought approval for starting the process to open liquor vends in un-served and under-served areas of the Union Territory. The department was planning to open 183 new liquor vends – 67 of them in the Valley.
The proposal triggered opposition by religious and political organisations. “This is an attack on our culture and we will oppose it,” Grand Mufti Nasir ul Islam told The Indian Express on Saturday. “We will call (a meeting of) all religious leaders and discuss the strategy on how to stop it.”
On Sunday, Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulma, an amalgam of religious and socio-religious organisations of the Valley led by Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, vowed to resist any such move.
“Any move by the administration to open liquor shops across the length and breadth of the Valley will not be allowed and will be strongly opposed and resisted by all the religious organisations, ulema and Muslims of the valley,” the outfit said. “It is malafide that this government in the midst of the major global pandemic when all energies are focused on the fight against it is instead busy bringing in ordinances and rules to change the demography of the Muslim majority state and now by such orders is further assaulting our Muslim identity and values and hurting our religious sentiments.”
The Jammu Kashmir Apni Party called the proposal an “onslaught on Kashmir’s cultural ethos”.
There are very few liquor shops and bars in the Valley, most of them in Srinagar and other tourist destinations. Most of the liquor sold in the Union Territory is consumed in Jammu.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines