Muslim body opposes Nitish Kumar’s liberal liquor policy

By staff reporter

Patna : An influential Muslim body in Bihar has opposed the Nitish Kumar government's new liberal liquor policy to generate more revenue, saying it was against Gandhian principles.

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Imarat Shariah, a social and religious body at Phulwarisharief near Patna, has strongly opposed the policy on the ground that it would encourage and promote sale of liquor and create social problems.

"The Bihar government's new liquor policy is totally against the preaching of Mahatma Gandhi, who was for total ban," said Maulana Syed Nizamuddin, the chief of Imarat Shariah.

"It will not only pollute society but will threaten peace also," he added.

This was the first time Imarat Shariah has come out openly to oppose a government policy since Nitish Kumar came to power in November 2005.

Shariah's stand is likely to jeopardise the Nitish Kumar government's decision to turn liquor into a big source of revenue.

Earlier this month, the state government introduced a new liberal policy that allows the sale of liquor in the dhabas along the national highways. The government had planned to generate revenue of Rs.7 billion annually from the new policy.

Imarat Shariah enjoys a large following among Muslims in Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.

Nizamuddin, who is also a general secretary of the Muslim Personal Law Board, said that sale of liquor at common places will take its toll on poor people, students and labourers.

"More sale of liquor will result into increase of crime against women," he said.