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Protests turn devotional with portraits of deities outside UP liquor shops

The presence of two liquor shops irked Madhavpuram locality residents who came out on the streets and started singing bhajans.

lucknow Updated: Apr 04, 2017 14:15 IST
S Raju
S Raju
Hindustan Times, Meerut
portraits of deities,liquor shops,Uttar Pradesh
Women sing bhajans (religious hymns) to force closure of liquor shops in Madhavpuram locality of Meerut.(HT PHOTO)

Residents of Madhavpuram locality in Meerut have adopted a unique mode of protest against liquor shops in their area. They have installed statues and portraits of deities in front of the outlets and are reciting mantras and bhajans.

This has come amidst protests in several districts of Uttar Pradesh against relocation of liquor shops, especially in and around residential areas, with angry women raiding liquor shops, smashing bottles and scaring away tipplers and owners.

The protests erupted after liquor vendors relocated their shops away from the highways, as Supreme Court banned liquor sale within 500 metres of state and national highways, near residential areas.

In Meerut, women are keeping a 24x7 vigil outside these highway liquor vends that have relocated to their vicinity. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been briefed about growing unrest following relocation of liquor shops. Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya has assured women worried at liquor shop relocation that their concerns would be looked into.

In Madhavapuram, one contractor Manmmet had shifted his liquor shops near the police post on the night of March 31 as his old outlet would have come under the 500-metre ban.

However, a liquor shop selling ‘desi’ (country) alcohol was already present at the police post.

The presence of two liquor shops irked residents who came out on the streets and raised slogans. Police tried to calm the protesters and disperse them, but failed and the agitators sat on dharna.

The locality’s women also came out of their homes to show their solidarity to protesters and also sat on dharna. A tent was put up outside the shops and women began reciting bhajans (religious hymns).

They also installed a statue of Hanuman and put up portraits of other deities outside the shops and said their protest would go on till the shops were shifted.

Local shopkeepers also have extended their support to the agitation as they feel that liquor shops have vitiated the atmosphere of the locality as tipplers consume liquor in open.

Women place a portrait of Hanuman outside a liquor shop to force its closure in Madhavapuram locality of Meerut. (HT PHOTO)

Vishal Mittal, who runs a cement shop close to the liquor shop at the police post, said such shops should close for the good of the society.

He and other shopkeepers are hopeful that the unique way of agitation would compel authorities to pay heed to people’s demand.

Few years back, Lucknow residents had resorted to Gandhigiri to force closure of a liquor shop that was located in front of a temple.

First Published: Apr 04, 2017 13:44 IST