news Friday, July 31, 2015 - 05:30
  Well-known Gandhian and prohibition activist Sasi Perumal passed away while in the midst of a prohibition protest in Kanyakumari Unnamalai Kadai. He was 59.   The incident occurred on Friday in Marthandam, Kanyakumari when Perumal had embarked on a protest by climbing on to a mobile phone tower calling for closure of TASMAC shop located near educational institutions in the area. After making threats of self-immolation, he remained on top of the tower for a couple of hours after which he reportedly fainted.   It was reported that he died on the way to the hospital.   Perumal had been conducting protests across Tamil Nadu calling for prohibition. His call for alcohol sale closure gained more importance in the last month following the emergence of videos depicting young children consuming liquor in the state.   Previously in 2013, Perumal went on an indefinite fast demanding total prohibition in TN. Known to have conducted similar agitations in the past, he had been arrested in January that year after he began protesting at the Marina Beach in Chennai. It was reported that he continued his fast inside the Puzhal jail where his health worsened. He was then admitted to the hospital and later released. However, he repeated the same in March when he fasted for 33 days before he was forcibly taken to a government hospital for medical attention.    Earlier in July this year, he had spoken to The News Minute saying that it was an open secret that whichever party is in power, has connections with companies supplying to the state-run liquor shops.    “I have repeatedly written to the state government asking them to bring in some enforcement (against liquor). They always respond saying that it is an official, government decision. But now it has reached the extent of affecting even school students,” he had said.   He had blamed the government for not being pro-active in creating awareness about the harm caused by alcohol consumption. “It’s not the fault of the citizens. If they are ignorant, it doesn’t mean that the government is also ignorant. They know that it is unhealthy, that it is injurious to health, then why don’t they do anything about it?” he said.   As calls for prohibition gained strengthened, a number of political parties joined in voicing their support. So much so, that even the DMK who had originally had lifted prohibition in 1971 and then re-introduced it in 1974.   Even the AIADMK had then made its own voice heard saying that Jayalalithaa government was making efforts to make the state liquor free.   (Image source: Red Pix video screengrab)
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