Two arrested amid public outrage over tourists consuming liquor openly in Srinagar’s Dal Lake

The Asian Age.  | Yusuf Jameel

India, All India

While alcohol has no social sanction in J&K, laws prohibit consuming liquor in public places

Last week, after a video showing tourists consuming liquor while riding a shikara in the Dal lake had surfaced, various religious and social organisation had urged the government to take stern action against the individuals for hurting the sentiments of Kashmiris. (Representational Image/AFP)

SRINAGAR: The J&K police arrested two persons amid public outrage over a group of tourists openly consuming liquor in Srinagar's Dal Lake area. While alcohol has no social sanction in J&K, laws prohibit consuming liquor in public places.

Last week, after a video showing tourists consuming liquor while riding a shikara in the Dal lake had surfaced, various religious and social organisation had urged the government to take stern action against the individuals for hurting the sentiments of Kashmiris. They appealed to the tourists to keep in view local sensibilities while entertaining themselves in the predominantly Muslim Valley.

On Tuesday, the Srinagar police in a post on ‘X, said that it has taken cognisance “after the video of unidentified individuals indulging in offensive behaviour in a Shikara in Dal Lake in an inebriated state went viral across social media platforms (sic)”. It said that an FIR under Section 295A had been registered at Srinagar’s Ram Munshi Bagh police station and two accused persons had been arrested while more suspects were being questioned.

Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code pertains to “Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” and the offence is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Following the incident, prominent Shia cleric Aga Syed Mohammad Hadi had while addressing a religious gathering said, “Consuming liquor publicly in Kashmir which is a Muslim majority region is not acceptable. Will it be tolerated by our Hindu brethren if we slaughter a cow in Ayodhya?”

Muttahida Majlis-e-Ulama (MMU), an amalgam of the heads of Muslim religious organisations and institutions headed by Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, had voiced its serious concern over the incident. “MMU strongly condemns this act and the fact that it has been allowed to take place in Kashmir…while public consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited under the law, why and how it has been allowed is a matter of worry,” it had said in a statement.

It also said, “The people of Kashmir are hospitable and respect tourists visiting the Valley as guests. However, such un-Islamic and unethical practices will not be tolerated in the Muslim majority Valley which is the land of saints and Sufis. Consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Islam for its disastrous ill effects and deprivation of society cannot be allowed to go unchecked”.

The MMU had appealed to hoteliers, houseboat owners and Shikara operators “to keep an eye on such wrong doings and totally stay away from indulging in this of un-Islamic and immoral practice for profit”. It also appealed to the tourists to respect the moral and religious ethos of Kashmir. End it

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