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Yogi Effect or New Gulabi Gang? Women Vigilante Groups Attack UP Booze Shops

Women groups demanding Bihar-like liquor prohibition in Uttar Pradesh is not new, but it seems some women have decided to fight for it, quite literally.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | ETV@qazifarazahmad

Updated:April 5, 2017, 3:48 PM IST
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Lucknow: Women groups demanding Bihar-like liquor prohibition in Uttar Pradesh is not new, but it seems some women have decided to fight for it, quite literally.

Over the past few days, several women vigilante groups have invaded wine shops, beer bars and country-made liquor shops across Uttar Pradesh, demanding closure of such establishments.

From Lucknow to Hapur, and from Bulandshahr to Ambedkar Nagar women attacking alcohol shops is becoming a common sight.

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Interestingly, there is no single organisation behind these incidents and the women vigilante groups claim to be inspired by each other.

A man who witnessed one such attack near Dalibagh area of Lucknow told News18 that the attackers were wearing saffron bandanas and they shouted religious slogans before shutting down the liquor shop.

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On Tuesday night, seven such attacks were reported in Lucknow alone.

Hours before the Dalibagh incident, a shop of country-made liquor at Nawabpurva near Gomti Nagar railway station was burned down. The caretaker of the shop sustained injuries while trying to douse the fire.

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In a similar incident, a liquor shop, which was earlier relocated from Lucknow-Sitapur highway to Chataurpur village, was torched by the villagers after a drunk man allegedly assaulted an eight-year-old girl. Apart from attacking alcohol shops, these women often block highways.

At Mohanlalganj on Lucknow-Raebareli highway, a group of women forcefully shut down a liquor shop saying there is a temple and a school in the vicinity. Local authorities have sealed the shop and informed the state excise department about the incident.

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Similar incidents have been reported from Sarojni Nagar area of Lucknow and Banthara on Lucknow-Kanpur highway.

In a region otherwise known for patriarchal social structure, UP has had women vigilante groups in past as well. In 2010, Gulabi Gang, a group of women activists in Bundelkhand region, came to limelight for its violent protests against domestic abuse.

Incidentally, attacks on liquor shops by women are happening at a time when about 8,500 such outlets have been affected by the Supreme Court’s order.

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According to report, 5,334 liquor shops have already shifted. Experts say if liquor shops move to residential areas, such protests could see a spike.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has assured women groups that the state government would will do “the best it can” to protest their rights.

| Edited by: Puja Menon
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