Wine menace in Kashmir; mob burns taxi stand
A taxi stand was set ablaze by a mob in Central Kashmir's Charar-e-Sharif town on Friday after an allegedly drunk driver hit two people, injuring them critically.
According to reports, a Sumo car bearing registration number JK020-8151 crushed two people, Javid Ahmed Dar and Shaheen Akbar, when he lost control over his vehicle near Gulshan Abad, Charar-e-Sharif.
Both were shifted to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
Eyewitnesses told IBNS that driver Ghulam Mohammad Baba was 'deadly drunk' and he was driving at a break-neck.
The agitated people smashed the window panes of the vehicle and in a fit of anger set the Alamdar Sumo Stand on fire.
The agitated people accused the drivers that they have turned their stand into a drinker's hub.
"We are not going to tolerate this. Shame on these drunkards who use wine during this sacred month of Ramadhan. Such people are responsible for the degradation of society as they propagate immorality and waywardness," an agitated youth said.
According to government reports, over 30 lakh bottles of Indian made foreign liquor, beer and desi liquor were sold in the Kashmir valley during the last one year.
In 2011, 8,25,482 bottles of IMFL and 9,41,677 bottles of beer were consumed in the Kashmir valley alone.
As consumption of liquor has been increasing with every passing year, excise collection has also increased.
In a bid to curb the sale of spurious products, the excise department had stickers affixed on liquor bottles with the security labels having as many as 20 in-built features. Security labels have features like hologram; bar code and guilloche pattern (intricate repetitive pattern seen on currency notes).
All bottled liquors will have to be compulsorily affixed with the hi-tech security labels.
Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather said he is hopeful that with the security labels the state will earn much more than expected.
Though separatists headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and the clerics of the Valley had expressed their outrage at the recent suggestion of National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah on opening of cinema halls and liquor shops in the Kashmir valley, liquor business in the militancy-hit state has been flourishing.
There are at least five liquor shops on the outskirts of Srinagar which are registered.
Dalgate area has four shops while one is located at Batwara.
Though, during the month of Ramadhan all the liquor shops remain closed during the day but all can be seen open soon after Iftaar time.