As the Ahmedabad hooch tragedy assumes alarming proportions, a dalit woman spearheading a four-year fight against spurious liquor in Haryana, was honoured on Saturday by President Pratibha Patil for showing the way to tackle the menace gripping many parts of the country.
"The work which Roshani Devi and her two fellow women activists Usha and Tripti have done shows how courage, dedication and confidence can overcome even the most difficult of problems," Patil said while presenting shawls and mementos to Devi, the first dalit sarpanch of her village, and her two associates, at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.
A beaming 35-year-old Devi said she was proud of the honour but her battle against liquor continues.
"I feel proud that President has honoured me but this is not the end. My battle will continue," she said,.
It all started when Devi, the first Dalit graduate of her village in Mahendergarh District of Haryana decided to contest the Panchayat elections in 2005 with a promise that she would ensure that no one drinks alcohol in public places.
Her appeal immediately struck a chord with women voters for whom drinking of liquor by men especially at public places was a menace which they had to face every day.
"Addicted to hooch, the villagers would often come drunk and beat their wives and children. Most of them used to open bottles at public places which would make it difficult for women to venture out," Devi said.