This is a village of teetotallers

Benakal can be aptly called a village of teetotallers. For, the residents of this nondescript hamlet in Gangavathi taluk have decided to abide by the principles of Mahatma Gandhi by abstaining themselves from consuming alcohol, meat and gutka.

After successfully converting their village into a place of abstainers, the residents have expanded the undeclared rulebook of the land by including abstinence from matka and gambling, too, in its purview. These rules are followed by one and all without a grumble.

Home to 2,800 people, Lingayats, Muslims, Vysyas and people belonging to other castes constitute 20 per cent of the population. The rest comprise Kurubas, Nayakas and Bhovis.

The laws are framed by the elders to ensure that the younger generation does not go astray. In fact, Benakal was in the news recently for its successful banning gutka.

No offenders so far

Says Mathada Lingappa, an elderly member, “It has been a week since the prohibition on meat, matka and gambling was announced. Not a single case of violation has been reported so far. The rules will be stringently followed even during the elections,” he added.

In case anybody is found guilty of violating the rules, they are liable to pay a fine, which is decided by the elders of the village at a meeting held on the premises of village deity Maleyamma’s temple.

Even buyers and sellers of meat and alcohol are supposed to pay a fine of Rs 11,000, while those from other villages found guilty of committing the offence at Benakal are also not spared.

According to Thimmenagowda Police Malipatil, another elderly person, “Those who attempt to disturb the peace and tranquility of the village will be tried on the premises of the temple and fined. The fine will be utilised for the welfare of the village,” he said.

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