Terming the Union Government's decision to allow the sale of liquor during the COVID-19 induced lockdown as "anti-public" policy, Communist Party of India (CPI) national secretary K Narayana on Monday slammed the decision.
While speaking to news agency ANI, he said, "With the Coronavirus still existing and the lockdown still in force, how liquor shops are allowed to sell liquor? It is not possible. Allowing the sale of liquor is an anti-public policy." He said the CPI demands that the sale of liquor should be banned in the country till the lockdown is not lifted. "Otherwise, it will have a bad effect on people," he added.
The CPI workers throughout India on Monday went for fast to protest against the treatment being meted out to migrant labourers and the sale of liquor, without violating the lockdown norms. "We are demanding from the Centre to release funds at least Rs 10 lakh crore to all States. Efforts must be made to ensure that each family gets 20kg rice and wheat per month," added Narayana.
CPI leaders Narayana, Azeez Pasha, Chada Venkat Reddy, and others sat for a one-day hunger strike today at Makhdoom Bhavan.
Impatient to end a nearly 40-day dry spell, a multitude of tipplers descended on liquor shops that reopened on Monday in many parts of India, jostling and pulling at each other in total defiance of social distancing norms, forcing authorities to shut the stores in some places to prevent near-riot situations.
Extraordinary scenes of chaos were witnessed outside the government-run shops in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Lucknow and other cities. While in one shop the first customer was welcomed with a garland of marigolds, in another a customer broke a coconut to herald the end of the Coronavirus-enforced lockdown dry spell.
Through much of the day, in the national capital and elsewhere in India, thousands of men, and in a few cases, women too were seen standing in snaking queues for hours or jostling restlessly as they waited for the shutters to go up.
(With agency inputs)