Kerala CM seeks to pacify Church over liquor policy

In an apparent move to pacify the Church that expressed strong reservation over government diluting the new liquor policy, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Saturday met Thamarassery Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil and held talks with him here.

PTI| Updated: Dec 27, 2014, 18:53 PM IST
Kerala CM seeks to pacify Church over liquor policy

Kozhikode: In an apparent move to pacify the Church that expressed strong reservation over government diluting the new liquor policy, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Saturday met Thamarassery Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil and held talks with him here.

The meeting came against the backdrop of the anti-liquor stir launched by the anti-liquor committee of Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC), chaired by Bishop Inchananiyil.

A large number of people, including nuns, had held a standing protest here yesterday demanding withdrawal of amendments to the government's liquor policy.

After meeting the bishop, Chandy told reporters that the outcome of the meeting was satisfactory. He explained to the bishop the circumstances that led to changes in the policy.

Chandy said the government would not go back from its declared policy of achieving total prohibition in a phased manner by reducing the availability of liquor.

The chief minister also expressed confidence that the new liquor policy would be successfully implemented in the state.

Chandy's visit also assumes significance as two state ministers - K C Joseph and K Babu - had criticised the anti- liquor stir of the Committee.

Babu even said some "external forces" had influenced the Committee in calling for the protest.

Secretary of KCBC's anti-liquor committee Fr Antony T J dismissed the ministers' charges and said the stir was not against the government or the chief minister but was to rectify the mistakes in the liquor policy.

"There is no change in the stand taken by KCBC and the anti-liquor committee on the government's new liquor policy. There should not be any change in it and we will go on with our protest," Fr Antony told PTI.

A Liaison committee of various anti-liquor groups, in which KCBC's anti-liquor panel is a member, would stage a protest in Kochi on January 1 as part of plans to continue the agitation.

The amended liquor policy allowed functioning of beer and wine parlours in the now-closed bars besides lifting Sunday as dry day.