Dehradun: Terming alcoholism as the root cause of the recent spate of crimes against women, noted social activist Swami Agnivesh on Tuesday said he will launch a nationwide campaign next month to eliminate the evil.
The first phase of this campaign will be launched on May 01 from Basana town near Raipur in Chhattisgarh where the World Council of Arya Samaj emancipated 4,000 bonded labourers 25 years ago, its president Swami Agnivesh told reporters here.
The second phase of the movement will be launched from Jai Prakash Narain`s birthplace at Sitabdiara in Bihar from May 07.
Noting that hanging the culprits of the Delhi gang-rape incident or removal of a few police officials would not help the situation, he said it is time to combat alcoholism which is the root cause of growing crime against women.
"Ever since the Delhi gang-rape incident occurred in December last year and the rape of a five-year-old girl in the capital earlier this month, people have been clamouring for execution of the culprits or suspension of a few police officials but this is not going to lead to an improvement in the situation. What we need to do is strike the very root of the problem which lies in alcoholism," Agnivesh said.
Accusing the state governments and the Centre of cheapening liquor, he said they were doing a great disservice to the nation by doing so.
Calling for a total ban on liquor he said, "We have to save the younger generation from falling into the trap of liquor and drug consumption to build a society in accordance with the vision of our freedom movement leaders like Mahatma Gandhi. But the state governments are vying with each other to lower the rates of liquor to encourage drinking in society."
It is time for a spiritual and moral regeneration which can be achieved only through a revival of the values that guided the country`s freedom movement, he said. Similar campaigns against alcoholism will be launched soon in Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, Agnivesh said.
He said the World Council of Arya Samaj will endeavour to make it a countrywide movement gradually by associating the campaign with the Dalai Lama, Maulana Wahiduddin and other eminent religious leaders.
Issuing an appeal to the powers-that-be, the social activist said they should make efforts to save the younger generation from the consumerist culture of which alcoholism is an offshoot.
He said cheapening of liquor by states was violation of Article 47 of the Constitution which seeks to enforce total prohibition, he said, "Either burn down the Constitution you swear by or follow it in its letter and spirit."
Rubbishing the argument that prohibition on liquor will block a major source of revenue generation he said there could be alternative and more positive ways of revenue generation than encouraging liquor consumption in society.
Citing an example, Agnivesh said he had demanded total prohibition in Haryana during Devi Lal`s tenure as chief minister. The state government opposed the proposition saying it will block a vital source of revenue.
"Amid continuing impasse, I approached the then prime minister Morarji Desai who came up with the idea of the Centre compensating for 50 percent of revenue losses that the state might incur on account of prohibiting liquor consumption," Agnivesh said.