Agra women rally against liquor shops

April 8th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by admin  

Agra, April 8 (IANS) Hundreds of women, wielding sticks, took to the streets at a Dalit-dominated locality here, offering stiff resistance to the opening of liquor shops. The spontaneous movement, which took place in Jagdishpura locality Monday, was aimed at preventing men and children from getting addicted to alcohol, which, women said, led to a large chunk of their earnings going waste.

“Even bystanders and men watching the women’s actions joined in, impressed with the intensity of the protest by women of all age groups,” said Raju of the Agra Action Group, which works for women’s causes.

It is “definitely a positive movement against liquor addiction, which has eaten into the family resources of Dalits, most working in shoe factories”, said Megh Singh Yadav, a human rights activist.

This was the seventh such big protest held in Dalit localities in the city in the last one month.

“A new movement of awakening has begun and members of various action groups, including young women and girls, are now organising protests against increasing liquor addiction in the predominantly Dalit basties,” said social activist Netra Pal Singh.

Early March, women’s groups attacked a liquor shop in the Water Works area. A similar movement was soon seen in Bheem Nagri. Women in Nagla Boorhi demonstrated April 6, forcing district authorities to review the licence of a liquor shop.

“A majority of men are already hard core addicts and wasting substantial part of their earnings on liquor, resulting in the suffering and deprivation of the whole family,” said Naresh Paras, a member of Amnesty International.

An interesting feature of the sporadic protests is that no NGO or group is mobilising the women.

“It’s all so spontaneous, and more and more women are getting involved,” Singh noted.

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