There has been a huge surge in the sale of liquor in Jammu and Kashmir according to the official data released a few days back in Jammu.
The state excise department told the media in Jammu that in 2015, 10.16 lakh more bottles of liquor were sold in the state compared to the previous year. The department said there is a huge surge in the sale of liquor, especially beer, in the Kashmir valley. Recently, some NGOs had also reported that many teenagers including girls were consuming liquor and beer in Kashmir.
The development comes at a time when the state has turned down demands from religious and political organisations to ban alcohol, arguing that Kashmir is a tourist place and sales tax on liquor was one of its main sources of income.
According to data provided by the state excise department, beer has emerged as the favourite drink in Kashmir. There is also a huge surge in drug addiction cases in Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir. The J&K Police recently started a de-addition centre at Police Control Room, Batamaloo, Srinagar, to treat the affected youth.
“Hundreds of youth are being treated by us. Many of them were initially consuming only beer at parties,” said a senior doctor who is working in the police-run de-addiction centre. He claimed that dozens of girls were also being treated at the centre.
Since Kashmir has no bars, pubs or other places where the youth can enjoy, they frequently go for beer parties in the hill stations, especially when the city is reeling under curfews and protests. “We have nothing to cheer about here. I was studying in Bangalore and when I came back with my friends, we devised this beer party culture at the health resorts. We really enjoy for days together, when Kashmir is shut down,” said Nazir Ahmad (name changed), who is working in a private bank after completing his MBA.