After ensuring the demolition of over 5,000 illegal liquor dens in Golaghat in less than a month since the tragedy, a voluntary organization called Mod Mukta Asom Dabi Samiti – leading the crusade for a ‘liquor-free Assam‘ – has cautioned political parties against luring the electorate with liquor.
This organization has planned a mass convention in Golaghat on March 27, where people from different walks of life will join its women volunteers in speaking up against the menace of illicit liquor.
“The hooch tragedy may recur if we don’t keep a constant watch on the illicit liquor dens that have been demolished. With the Lok Sabha polls round the corner, our women activists are concerned that politicians will woo voters with cheap illicit liquor. People from the weaker sections of the society, including the tea garden labourers, may be tempted. We have asked the villagers coordinating with us to be alert,” said Namita Hazarika, convener of Veerangana, the women’s brigade of Mod Mukta Asom Dabi Samiti.
Golaghat is one of the districts that is badly affected by the scourge of illicit liquor. Apart from tea garden workers, several indigenous communities are known for preparing spurious liquor for sale at low prices in the district.
In Jorhat district, too, Sanmilita Nari Adhikar Suraksha Mancha (SNASM), a women’s rights organization based in upper Assam, has decided to relaunch its drive against illicit liquor. It has convened a public meeting on March 20 to chalk out a course of action.
Since police have no alternative but to cooperate with the activists, these organizations have got ancillary support in their drive against hooch.
“We have intimated the district administration of our drive against illicit liquor. If it doesn’t take measures against the sale of illicit liquor this election, we will be forced to act against politicians who offer liquor for vote,” said Tutumoni Bhuyan Hazarika, a leading member of Sanmilita Nari Adhikar Suraksha Mancha. With the model code of conduct for the elections in place, police and the administration have also redoubled effort to restrict the flow of unaccounted-for cash.