Sinlung /
10 July 2014

Dry Mizoram To Turn Wet Again

Aizawl, Jul 10 : The Congress government is all set to lift the 17-year-old dry law in the Christian-majority state, despite strong opposition from the influential churches.

Excise and narcotics minister R Lalzirliana, who also holds the home portfolio, will introduce a new bill called Mizoram Liquor (Prohibition & Control) Bill 2014 to replace the controversial Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition (MLTP) Act 1995 at the ongoing assembly session on Thursday.

The 40-member state assembly where the Congress party enjoys comfortable majority with 34 legislators is likely to pass the new bill that will liberate liquor.

Even though the states's largest denomination Mizoram Presbyterian Church, which has a membership of more than 50 percent of the state's population, has vehemently opposed liberating liquor, the Lal Thanhawla-led government looked determined to pass the bill.

The previous Congress government had constituted a study group on total prohibition of liquor which found that it was a total failure.

'After deliberate discussion on the study group's report, it was strongly felt that the total prohibition be made less strict so as to prevent spurious liquor and enable drinkers to drink good quality liquor,' the minister said.

Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church organised mass prayers in all the member churches across the state on the night of July 5 seeking divine intervention to put the dry law in place. This was the second time that the Presbyterian Church organised mass prayer against lifting the dry law.

The church leaders, who had pressurised then the Congress government to impose the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act in 1997, are still adamant that the dry law is a success.

'Since the implementation of total prohibition, our public areas have become safer and more peaceful, there have been less vehicular accidents caused by drunk driving and alcohol-related violence has decreased visibly,' statement of the church said.

'Given that alcohol harms health, disturbs social relations and even spiritual well-being, we believe allowing alcohol to be more free is not likely to benefit us,' the note added.

The Presbyterian Church believes that 'violent crimes such as murder, rape and accidents are mostly committed under the influence of alcohol.' The second largest denomination Baptist Church of Mizoram also toes the same line with Presbyterian Church.

'The Baptist Church is totally opposed to a government selling liquor,' the church statement said.


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