Won't back down, will move court for liquor ban: AIMIM
While the state has announced it will not impose a liquor ban on Christmas eve, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) hasn’t given up yet, and is considering legal options to seek a dry day on December 24, which is also Eid-e-Milad. AIMIM has just today to approach the court, as Eid-e-Milad will be celebrated tomorrow.
Byculla MLA Waris Pathan (right) said he was in the process of seeking permission from AIMIM chief Asaddudin Owaisi so he could move the court demanding a dry day tomorrow. File pic
Muslim leaders from AIMIM and Congress had both approached the chief minister last week, seeking a ban on alcohol on the Muslim holy day marking the birth and death anniversary of Prophet Mohammed. The Christian community in turn expressed unhappiness that such a ban would curtail traditional Christmas celebrations. According to AIMIM’s Byculla MLA Waris Pathan, the government had displayed discrimination against the Muslim community and its religious sentiments.
“Our demand for banning alcohol is well-placed, as there are religious sentiments behind it. If the government can meet Jains’ demand for banning meat during Paryushan Parva, and does not wish to upset Christians by banning alcohol, why does it not pay heed to Muslims’ demand for a dry day?” questioned Pathan yesterday.
He told mid-day that he was in the process of seeking permission from AIMIM chief Asaddudin Owaisi so he could take the legal recourse. Pathan, a lawyer, had intervened in the beef ban case as well.
On Monday, the state issued a notification that, like every year, the state will allow liquor shops, permit rooms and pubs to run on Christmas eve into the early hours of December 25. The same extended timings will also apply on Christmas running into December 26, as well as New Year’s eve (December 31) running into January 1. The excise department has been doing this for many years to facilitate revelry on these days and also to earn additional revenue.
Congress, which had so far been fighting with AIMIM for credit for the liquor ban demand, preferred to take a backseat and leave the decision to the state.
“The government had told us last week that it would consider our demand in a positive manner because Eid and Christmas eve will not clash from next year. It’s just a matter of one year. Such an overlap will happen only after 25 years, because in the Islamic calendar, the festival will advance by at least 10 days each year,” said Congress MLA Arif Naseem Khan, who, along with leaders from Samajwadi Party and non-AIMIM Muslims legislators, had on Friday petitioned CM Devendra Fadnavis.
Khan said his party did not wish to move court, but expected the BJP government to stop being biased against Muslims. “Considering several decisions that have gone against the community, it is clear this government is not for Muslims,” he said.
Both Pathan and Khan maintained that their parties were not in favour of disturbing the spirit of Christmas, but wanted the government to arrive at some amicable solution before it’s too late.