Mumbai: Maharashtra government has allowed alcohol shops to remain open from late night till wee hours on Eid-e-Milad, along with Christmas and New Year's Eve, prompting the Congress and AIMIM to accuse it of disregarding the sentiments of Muslims over demand for liquor ban on that day.
A circular issued by the state home department grants relaxation in timings to shops, beer bars and other establishments selling liquor, alcohol, beer, wine and country liquor on December 24 (Eid-e-Milad), December 25 (Christmas) and December 31 (New Year's Eve). It allows foreign liquor (FL-II) retail shops to remain open on all three days from 10.30 PM to 1 AM and permit rooms, restaurants and bars (excluding in police commissionerate areas) from 11 PM to 5 AM.
In the police commissionerate areas, beer and wine shops will be allowed to remain open between 10.30 PM and 1 AM; hotels, restaurants, canteens and clubs between 10.30 PM and 5 AM; country liquor shops in C-class municipal councils and zilla parishad areas (excluding Cantonment areas) from 10 PM to 1 AM and, in areas other than these, between 11.59 PM to 1 AM, on all three days.
However, slamming the move, Congress leader Sachin Sawant claimed it proves that the government is not paying heed to the demands of Muslims. "It can be easily seen that this government is not paying importance to the demands of Muslims and they are being made to feel like secondary citizens, following the ideology of the RSS," he further charged.
AIMIM legislator Imtiyaz Jaleel said that a memorandum seeking a ban on liquor sale was for gauging the attitude of the government towards the sentiments of Muslims. "The request was made with the purpose of seeing the government's intentions towards our sentiments and whether they respect it. If they could respect the sentiments of Jains by banning meat during 'Paryushan', they could have taken cognisance of our request as well," he said. "Alcohol is a social evil. But since this government is following the RSS ideology, we do not know what to expect from them," he added.