Ibobi liquor law sparks ire

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  • Published 3.09.02

Imphal, Sept. 3: The mass protests against the Ibobi Singh government’s move to lift prohibition from Manipur has gained wider support. Church leaders have decided to take out a silent rally here on Monday.

The rally, to be organised by the All-Manipur Christians’ Organisation (Amco), will register the protest of the Church leaders against the Manipur Liquor Prohibition (Amendment) Bill, 2002. The Bill was passed by the Assembly after the entire Opposition staged a walkout during the July session.

Though Governor Ved Marwah has given his consent to the Bill, the Ibobi Singh-led Secular Progressive Front (SPF) government is yet to implement the Act in view of the popular resentment expressed by various youths’ and women’s organisations throughout the state.

Monday’s Church rally will be flagged off at the Manipur Baptist Church at Chingmeirong and pass through the major thoroughfares of the main market in the city. Several women’s organisations of Imphal have promised full support to the rally.

Pledging to take part in the movement against the government, the Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Welfare Association, the Meira Paibi Welfare Association, Kangleipak and the All-Manipur Women’s Voluntary Association made scathing attacks on the move to scrap the dry law.

Leaders of these organisations warned that if the government refuses to withdraw the Bill immediately, these women’s organisations, with the support of other youths’ and women’s fora, would “storm” the Assembly.

Leaders of these organisations also said plans have been chalked out for a mass movement by joining hands with the All-Manipur Christian Organisation, the Churachandpur District Students’ Organisation, the Kuki Inpi (apex body of the Kuki tribe), the Naga People’s Organisation of Chandel and Senapati districts and Tangkhul Sinaorong.

Manipur was declared a dry state by the R.K. Ranbir Singh government with effect from April 1, 1991. The government hopes to rake more than Rs 50 crore from excise duties annually once prohibition is scrapped. Ibobi Singh insisted that lifting the dry law would help the government tackle the current financial crunch.