Naxals take up arms against country liquor

NAGPUR: Maharashtra has banned Gutkha and the Naxals in state have banned locally manufactured liquor ‘Gudumba’, prepared from jaggery or ‘gud’. A banner of the Naxals, found at Jimulgatte in Aheri taluka on the occasion of their July 28-August 3 Martyrs’ week, warned the local tribal against making or trading the brew.

In the district that has total liquor prohibition, the cadres of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), better known as Naxalites, now have issued fiat against the liquor. The rebels have warned the bootleggers stating that continuing the trade may mean death for them.

It is learnt the Naxals had started their campaign against liquor in the district a couple of months earlier. However, they are using their ongoing bandh and Martyrs week to remind the local population about the ban. After having ransacked some dens of country liquor and thrashing their owners in Dhanora tehsil in northern Gadchiroli earlier this year, Naxals turned their attention towards the southern part of the district. Earlier this year, a bunch of rebels had barged into the home of a local bootlegger in Perimili and also vandalized his car. The bootlegger was not at home. The Naxals left the village after firing a few shots on the police station.

A local source from the district analyzed the latest move of the rebels stating that it is aimed at having a two way impact. “There are allegations that police offer protection to local bootleggers for monetary favours. The Naxals’ targeting bootleggers will hit the interests of unscrupulous cops. It will also burnish their image of Naxals for fighting a social evil,” said the source.

It is learnt the Naxals have also been speaking out against making and consumption of liquor in their village meetings too. According to a source, they were issuing not only general threats but also taking specific names urging the villagers to pass their message to bootleggers.

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