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Mizoram Church no to liquor ban Act amendment
Aizawl | Saturday, Jun 6 2009 IST
 
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Forget about lifting the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition (MLTP) Act, the churches in Mizoram are against even Amendment of the controversial law.

Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute (church leaders) Committee today made its stand clear to the government. ''We are for the MLTP Act as ever before. We are firm on our stance. We are strongly against lifting or amending the Act,'' the church leaders said after their meeting.

The newly set up Mizoram State Law Commission had proposed some amendments in the liquor ban act, and referred its proposal to the Church and three most influential NGOs in the state for their comments before placing it in the state Assembly.

Even though the NGOs- Young Mizo Association, Mizoram Upa Pawl (senior citizens association) and Mizo Hmeichhe Insuikhawm Pawl (womens organisation) were yet to have their say on the amendment proposals, they are likely to support the Church, the sources said.

The law commission in its meeting on May 21 had proposed to exclude beer from the banned items and amendment of some of the penalties. The church leaders committee today said an absolute no to any amendment of the Act.

Critics are of the opinion that the liquor ban Act, imposed in the Christian-dominated state from 1996, has totally failed while it only proliferates bootlegging, poor quality liquor and increased prices of liquor, both local and Indian made foreign liquor. ''If a law fails, it is either to be lifted or amended. We have experimented with the liquor ban Act for more ten years, and witnessed that it has failed to stop what it is meant to stop. It only made Mizoram the wettest dry state. One can find plenty of liquor, only the prices are extraordinarily high,'' said former Mizoram chief secretary M Lalmanzuala.

The retired IAS officer further blamed the ''wrong teaching'' of the European missionaries for the Churchs negative attitude towards liquor which he claimed had never been a problem, but part of religious rituals before the Missionary era. The wrong teaching of the missionaries, he said in his research paper, was compounded by the war-like confrontation between the well-to-dos and the poor in the pre-Christian Mizo society.

''Only the well-to-dos afforded Zu or rice beer which was brewed from surplus rice. The poor people who did not afford the Zu were the first to adopt Christianity and these people started hating the Zu which was a status symbol of the well-to-do people,'' he said in his research paper Mizo Culture and Liquor.

However, the church is of the belief that the liquor ban Act, even though it might not have totally wiped out liquor from the state, has controlled proliferation of liquor to a great extent.

''We dont expect a 100 per cent success. But, what we have seen very clearly is that the society has become a much better place to live in compared to the pre-prohibition era. Vehicle accidents, deaths and family problems resulted by liquor have considerably declined after the prohibition,'' said a senior leader of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church, the largest and most influential church in the state.

-- (UNI) -- 06CA34.xml

 

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