After Supporting CM on Prohibition, Women Protest against 'Draconian Laws'

File photo of Chief Nitish Kumar on July 9, 2015 when he promised to impose prohibition in Bihar.

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Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's flagship social policy of total prohibition that was shoved down the throat of Biharis on April 1 this year is now facing serious criticism by the same women who had earlier supported his policy saying the latest Excise Act blurred the line between a mature democracy and a dictatorship.

More than a dozen women's organizations under various monikers including Nirbhaya Women Network, Mahila Samaj, Dalit Adhikar Manch, Gharelu Kamgar Mahila Sangathan, and Bihar Muslim Network in Patna on Monday held a press conference to protest against the new 'draconian law' as passed by the Nitish cabinet.

"Nitish Kumar, instead of solving the problem of domestic abuse, has created even more problems for the women of Bihar. Under the new law, a policeman can force his entry into someone's home, plant a bottle of liquor and threaten the family with jail time if they did not submit to his extortion demands," said a spokesperson for the Bihar Women's Network.

Demanding immediate recall of the new law that makes provision for the arrest of entire family including the parents and children living under the same roof in the event a bottle of alcohol was found in the home, the leaders said that women, who usually had no control over the behavior of their husbands, not only faced threat of being beaten up or abused by their spouses if they tried to stop them from bringing booze home; they also faced arrest thanks to Nitish Kumar's obsession with being a tough prohibition crusader.

Refuting the claims of decline in domestic crime since the implementation of prohibition in Bihar, the activists said that there was a marked rise in rape cases but the women could not go to the police for the fear of being further exploited by the men in uniform.

Describing the new law against drinking tougher than rape or murder, the activists demanded immediate amendment in the Excise Act or be prepared to face a statewide agitation against prohibition in the coming days.

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