“Is there nobody to ask about the rights of drunkards here?” is a common dialogue heard in Malayalam cinema and comedy shows. And now, there is an answer to that. The All Kerala Alcoholics Supporters Association staged a protest in front of the Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday, with various demands – one of them to do with police harassment.
Two members of the association were seen with placards, demanding that the price of Indian-made foreign liquor should be reduced. They also demanded that people walking on the street after drinking should be allowed to walk with dignity, without harassment by the police.
“Government says toddy is a national drink. They say it promotes tourism and they sell it, too. But after drinking, the police are not allowing us to walk on the streets. They check us and physically torture us. If we say that we are just walking away properly, they put a criminal case on us saying we are preventing them from doing their duty,” one of the protesters told Mathrubhumi.
They also said that the government should stop selling liquor if people cannot have it and walk properly in public. “Let the police catch those who drive after drinking alcohol and create problems at home, but spare those who walk away without creating trouble for anyone,” the protestors said. He added that most people.
Several other ‘demands’ however were quite problematic. They want alcohol to be included under GST to reduce prices. “The price of alcohol will be increased irrespective of any natural disaster or calamities. Around Rs 400 crore was collected through this industry after price hike following the recent flood,” the members said.
The members also demanded that beverages outlets should be opened in every panchayat.