The shops, women vendors in the areas say, generated business due to partial prohibition in Kerala.

Clashes between tribal protesters and TASMAC workers at Anaikatty over prohibitionTASMAC vendors protesting in Anaikatty
news Prohibition Sunday, April 17, 2016 - 13:20

The struggle for closure of TASMACs has ended in Anaikatty, a village outside Coimbatore after long-drawn protests by tribal women in Kerala. But a faction of women and men stormed the streets on Saturday demanding that the shops be reopened as it would hit business. 

Authorities were forced to shut the shop after constant road blocks and picketing by tribal women from the Attapady mountains in Kerala under the banner ‘Thaikula Sangam’. This was done in light of the elections approaching. But 30 women from the Tamil Nadu village, along with 50 men, stormed the streets demanding the state-run liquor outlet be reopened. Shops on the Tamil Nadu side of the border remained closed in protest.

The shops, women vendors in the areas say, generated business due to partial prohibition in Kerala. Some of the female protestors said that the men did not cause problems when they drank, and therefore shuttering down the shops was uncalled for.  Nearby eateries, they say, had seen a dip in business after the shops were shut. 

Murugavel, an anti-prohibition protestor called it a welcome move. “We do not have business in mind. They have business in mind at the expense of the lives lost to drinking. The Adivasis here have been badly affected by the functioning of these shops, and we don’t see why people should complain about their business. We have lost 147 people, they may simply lose money.” 

Women from both sides clashed. While protestors in Attapady said they had seen a change in the quality of life among their village after these shops were shut and their men had stropped drinking, women from Tamil Nadu side were lamenting the loss of business and asked for the shops to be reopened after elections.

Attapady has a tribal population of around 30,000 people belonging to the Kurumba, Muduga and Irula tribes. Attapady was made a non-liquor zone in 1996 by then Chief Minister AK Antony. Later in 2002, Late former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam lead the Attapaadi Declaration and called the place ‘liquor and drug-free zone’.

But that has not stopped liquor from freely flowing in the area or made people abstain. For fourteen years now, tribal community people have been travelling from Attapady to Anaikatty just to get liquor from the TASMAC shops in Tamil Nadu. The place remains liquor-free on papers but there are about five de-addiction centres for 70,000 people in Attapady.



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