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Thousands of Protestors March 200 KM to Bengaluru's Vidhana Soudha For Alcohol Ban

The march was being led by the Madyapana Nishedha Andolana and has members from various organisations across Karnataka including Grameena Kooli Karmika Sanghatane, Kissan Sanghatane, Swaraj India, Swaraj Abhiyan and others.

Revathi Rajeevan | News18.com

Updated:January 30, 2019, 2:29 PM IST
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Thousands of Protestors March 200 KM to Bengaluru's Vidhana Soudha For Alcohol Ban
After covering 200kms by foot, more than 2000 people from rural Karnataka, mostly women, march to Vidhana Soudha today demanding state-wide liquor ban. (Image : Twitter)
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More than two thousand people, primarily women from rural Karnataka marched to Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday demanding a state-wide ban on liquor.

The march was being led by the Madyapana Nishedha Andolana and has members from various organisations across Karnataka including Grameena Kooli Karmika Sanghatane, Kissan Sanghatane, Swaraj India, Swaraj Abhiyan and others.

The protestors began the march on January 19 from Chitradurga and covered more than 200kms in ten days.

On Tuesday night, the protestors arrived in Bengaluru, some of them with blistered feet, and stayed in a makeshift shelter in Malleshwaram.

Then on Wednesday they began the eleventh day of their march towards Vidhana Souda.

K Uma, a protestor from Raichur said her husband had died due to alcoholism.

"I made sure my children did not drink. But then two of my son-in-laws drink. It is a huge problem in the village," said Uma.

"It's available in every other shop and they sometimes deliver door-to-door asking those at home to pay," she added.

A thousand other women like Uma have similar stories, either from their own home or their neighborhoods.

Thayamma, another protestor from Raichur said there are no good roads or buses in her village but there are seven to eight shops selling liquor.

Several men were all seen in the marching crowd, many of them with kin who are victims of alcoholism.

"My son is 18. He has been drinking since he was 14. They go around partying and come home drunk. If we question them, they threaten to run away from home or commit suicide," said Mallappa.

Hanumantha, another protestor said, "they ask for money for college and use that money to drink. They fight if we ask something. Some villagers have stopped their girls to college fearing drunkards who bother them on the roads".

The protestors are mostly daily wage labourers earning between Rs. 200-250 per day.

Women as old as 80 were also present at the march to spread awareness about the ill-effects of alcohol.

"I was spending all my money on alcohol. I was getting weaker day by day. So I stopped drinking," said Hiran from Ballari.

55 year old Basavraj had been drinking for 30 years before he stopped.

"What is the point of it? Wife was not happy, kids were not happy. At least now let me stop drinking I," said Basavraj.

Tragically, one the protestors, Renukavva succumbed to injuries and died after being hit by a bike on NH 48 in Nelamangala on Sunday evening.

The march resumed after her body was sent back to the village.

Responding to the demand, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said that it was not possible to have a complete ban but promised to bring it up in the cabinet.

"It is not possible to have a complete ban on alcohol which provides such high revenue for the state. Earlier, as the Chief Minister I had banned arrack.," Kumaraswamy said.

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