Over 2,000 women, who arrived in the city from various parts of Karnataka after a 200 km 12-day march, took out a ‘Padayatra’ and ‘Jail Bbharo Andolan’ from Malleswaram to Vidhana Soudha on Wednesday demanding a ban on the sale of liquor in the state.
The women, who had started the march from Chitradurga on January 19, were supported by a various activists in the city. The women from rural areas from 23 districts of the state camped at the Malleswaram ground near K C General Hospital and walked around 5 km to Vidhana Soudha, but the police stopped the protesters near Freedom Park.
Freedom fighter H S Doreswamy inaugurated the rally and requested Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy to ban liquor. “I request to ban liquor by October 2, the Gandhi Jayanti day. The movement will not stop till the women get justice,” he said. “The liquor ban movement has not started now. It was the movement started by Gandhi. But unfortunately, the governments did not bother to ban the alcohol in the state”.
“It is very shameful that none of the elected representatives has come to visit the Padayatra till date,” said Prasanna, another activist.
Cooperation Minister Bandeppa Kashempur, who visited the protesters, said the government needs time to formulate a law in this regard.
Later, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy said, “Without holding the discussion with Congress I can’t take a decision.”
The women from the interior parts of the state had only one complaint that the alcohol is killing their husbands, sons and leading to domestic violence.
Ambika, a daily wage labourer from Dobbspet, was rescued by the activists while she was beaten by her husband. “My husband who was addicted to the alcohol was hitting me daily and I was tortured physically and mentally. After hearing about my condition, some activists rescued me. I demand the government to ban the liquor,” she
Shivamma, another victim, said, “I lost my husband due to alcohol consumption. Most of the youths in my village are addicted to alcohol and their families are suffering. I am ready to die in this protest, I want the liquor to be banned completely.”
Many women walked with their children in the hot sun and senior citizen too supported the movement.
Supporting the movement, theatre person Arundhathi Nag sang a song written by 12th-century saint-poet Akkamahadevi during the massive protest. “I salute the women for carrying out this movement. I am impressed with their unity to come out and protest. The government in Bihar has prohibited the liquor and the law and order in Bihar have improved, I hope the state government will respond to the issue,” she said.
Taking out this march was not an easy task. On the way, the women had to face problems- walking in the hot sun, sleeping in cold, using toilets and losing one of their friends in an accident.
Protester Renukamma succumbed to injuries after a motorcyclist hit her near Nelamangala on Sunday during the march. Uma, one of her friends was seen holding a banner of Renukamma in the protest, said, “She is a martyr. If liquor is banned in the state, this will be the biggest credits to Renukamma”.
The women were taken care of by teams of volunteers during the rally. Traffic affected
The march caused a traffic jam in Central Business District in the capital city. It caused traffic snarls around Malleswaram, Freedom Park, Majestic, Race Course Road, Anand Rao Circle, Chalukya Circle and Shivananda Circle.