Srinagar, May 31: Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Chairman of the hardline faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), has launched a protest to close liquor shops in Jammu and Kashmir. The protesters warned of a launching an agitation on June 20 unless the liquor vends are closed down.
"We are giving an ultimatum to all liquor shops in Srinagar that they should shut shop. On June 20, we will launch a massive, non-violent agitation against the liquor vends in the state. All the liquor shops in the state should be closed down," Geelani said. Trade figures reveal that the consumption of alcoholic drinks has picked up following a significant fall in violence after India and Pakistan launched a peace process in 2004.
Over 1.2 million bottles of hard liquor and beer were sold in Kashmir valley, during the past year, as the influence of militants' wanes.
Liquor shops, beauty parlours and cinemas were closed in the Kashmir Valley after the separatist revolt against Indian rule broke out in 1989. But at least six liquor shops and scores of beauty parlours have reopened in Kashmir since.