Over 5,000women hailing from the adjoining Yavatmal and Chandrapur districts staged a one-day dharna in front of the district collector's office on Tuesday, International Women's Day, to stress for their demand of total ban on liquor and women's self-help groups' loan waiver.
The Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti headed by Kishore Tiwari, Chandrapur based Shramik Elgar Sanghatana headed by Adv Paromita Gosawi, Sant Tukdoji Maharaj Daru Bandi Abhiyan, Savitribai Fuley Bachat Gat Karz Mukti Andolan and other organisations jointly organised the dharna.
Addressing the rally, Goswami said, "We demand for a total ban on liquor in the district of Yavatmal, the epicentre of farmers' suicide, at par with the adjoining district of Wardha." "Minister for prohibition and social justice Shivajirao Moghe represents Kelapur assembly constituency and he should declare his own home district liquor free," she said.
"Total prohibition in the entire state is the only solution for the unabated atrocities on women, snapping of family bond, exploitation of the unorganised domestic helps," she said, adding that the innocent children are the ultimate sufferers of the liquor addiction menace.
Criticising the indifferent attitude of the state government, Tiwari claimed illicit liquor trade is an uninterrupted source of revenue for the government.
Speaking to TOI later, Goswani said even young children have been lured to liquor and it is ruining the family beyond repair.
Asked what prompted her to take up the cause of prohibition, she cited three cases. "In Bhandvi village of Rajura tehsil, a woman was hit by an axe on her head because she was involved in the anti-liquor agitation. In Bhatala village of Bhadrawati, three fingers of the victim were chopped off merely because she was participating in the liquor ban agitation. In Ghosari village of Pombhurna, a female activist was severely thrashed until she fell unconscious for demanding ban on liquor," she said.
"The cops were not even ready to register an offence against the culprits. These harrowing experiences prompted me to take up the cause of liquor ban," she added.
Asked what happened to her movement in Chandrapur, she said that the state government has set up a committee under the chairmanship of district guardian minister Sanjay Deotale on February 22 to study the pros and cons of the demand and submit a report to the government within three months. "We hope the government would concede our demand for declaring Chandrapur as a liquor free district," she said.