Religious and political organisations in Kashmir have opposed a reported move to open liquor vends in the Valley, prompting the government to clarify on Sunday that it was not considering any such move.
The Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of socio-religious organisations, headed by Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said any move by the administration to open liquor shops across the length and breadth of the Valley will be strongly opposed and resisted.
"The government order which is widely circulating on social media clearly stating governments plan to set up liquor shops at 67 locations in Kashmir valley is causing grave concern and anguish among the Muslims of the valley," the MMU said in a statement.
It asked the government to immediately withdraw this "immoral and anti-Islam order". Kashmir is a predominantly Muslim region.
The Finance department of the Union territory, however, said it has not taken any policy decision regarding issuance of fresh liquor licences in unserved areas.
"No list of unserved areas has either been considered or approved. No decision will be taken without participation of stakeholders and the due process," it said.
It was reported that the Jammu and Kashmir administration planned to open new liquor shops in the Union territory.
The Apni Party, headed by Altaf Bukhari, also slammed the government over the issue.
"The government proposal to open liquor shops at around 183 newly identified locations in J&K, including 67 in the Kashmir Valley, is totally unacceptable as the decision is bound to have disastrous consequences for peace in the region," Apni Party leader Zaffar Iqbal Manhas said.
"Such decisions are highly condemnable. Kashmir is a land of sufis and saints, and such obnoxious proposals are mooted to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere," he added.