Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Maoist group bans liquor in Jharkhand villages

Ranchi, Feb 4 : A Maoist group in Jharkhand has ordered villagers not to sell or consume liquor.

Jharkhand Liberation Tigers (JLT), a Maoist group active in the Ranchi, Khuti, Simdega and Gumla disricts of the state, has given the directive.

Posters and pamphlets calling for a ban on the sale and consumption of 'Hadia' - a local brew made from rice and Mahua flower - have been found in villages of Khuti and Simdega districts.

"If anyone is found selling or consuming Hadia, he will be suitably punished. The consumption of Hadia has destroyed many families. This will not be accepted," the posters said.

Besides banning the sale and consumption of liquor, the group has also given a directive to schoolteachers.

"Teachers found absent during school hours will not be spared. JLT will not tolerate students returning to their homes because of absent teachers," the directive said.

The JLT directive has made some impact in the rural areas of Khuti. "You will rarely find open sale of liquor in Khuti markets. Liquor sellers are doing their business on the sly to avoid the wrath of the JLT," said Rabi Kishore, a resident of Khuti district.

The police, however, see the move as a ploy to gain support of the rural people.

"Maoist organisations come out with directives to garner support of the rural people. But they do not flinch in killing innocent people when they fight for supremacy," a police official involved in anti-Maoist operations told IANS.

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