Gandhinagar, July 5 (IANS) Gujarat’s three young firebrand leaders – Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakore – on Thursday raided a country liquor stand in the state capital and announced they would be carrying out similar ‘janata (public) raids’ on illicit liquor dens across the state to expose the government’s failure in implentation of prohibition.
They alleged that the liquor stand was running right behind the Superintendent of Police’s office here and they recovered liquor pouches from there.
“Every year 10,000 to 15,000 youngsters are losing their lives by consuming illicit liquor. All three of us, Thakor Sena, Dalit Ekta Manch and PAAS (Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti), will together carry on ‘janta raids’ across the state, beginning Saturday, on illegal liquor dens,” Thakore, the Congress legislator from Radhanpur in north Gujarat, told reporters. He was flanked by Mevani and Patel.
“Today, there is a rule of bootleggers in Gujarat,” Thakore, who has been running a campaign against illegal liquor for nearly two years, added.
Patel said: “It is sad that liquor is easily available across the land of Gandhi. I went to Bihar recently but it was not available there. How come it is available in Gujarat? If police stops us from carrying out janta raids, it is a failure of the government.”
Vadgam MLA Mevani said: “Police and government are responsible for the failure of prohibition policy. It is not the responsibility of Jignesh, Alpesh or Hardik to ensure that the law is implemented but that of the government. There seems to be a channel of corruption that is running from bottom till top. It is a state-wide nexus.”
Thakore also said: “A lot of hue and cry is being made about ‘Udta Punjab’, but here the ‘Dry Gujarat’ too has similar problems. If the government can stop water pouches in a day, why cannot it stop sale of illicit liquor?”Police however denied there was any liquor den running from behind the SP’s office and only a couple of polythene pouches containing 400 ml of country liquor were found. “It appears prima facie that someone may have planted the pouches! We don’t have anything that shows that illegal liquor was being made there,” said Gandhinagar SP Virendrasinh Yadav.
The three youth leaders raised the issue after four persons were admitted to local civil hospital in Ahmedabad after consuming spurious substance on Wednesday night. However, police said no traces of ethyl alcohol or methyl alcohol were found.
“The FSL reports suggest that no traces of any drugs or ethyl or methyl alcohol have been found in the initial reports of the blood samples of the four persons. We will have to wait for some more time,” said Ahmedabad Crime Branch’s Special Commissioner J.K. Bhatt.
Moreover, police also claimed that they want to seriously curb the sale of illegal liquor in the state. “We arrested 240 persons under PASA (Prevention of Anti-Social Activities Act) and 55 persons were externed last year in Ahmedabad city alone. We have started a special prohibition drive,” said Ahmedabad’s Special Commissioner of Police K.L.N. Rao.