Kashmiri separatists vow to protest alcohol sales
In the restive north Indian state of Kashmir, Muslim hardline separatists have decided to launch an agitation against liquor sales. Kashmir is mostly dominated by Muslims and Islam consider drinking as vice. But More than 1.2 million bottles of hard liquor and beer were sold in Kashmir's valley, the main region around Srinagar, during the past year, as the influence of militants wanes.
Hardline Kashmiri Muslim separatists vowed on Wednesday to launch protests to force the closure of liquor shops across the Himalayan region, a disputed territory torn by years of insurgency.Indian officials say the consumption of alcoholic drinks has started picking up fast in Kashmir following a significant fall in rebel violence after India and Pakistan launched a peace process in 2004.
"India authorities are encouraging the spread of alcohol in Kashmir by design. They want to spoil our youth," the region's hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani told a news conference.
The two nuclear-armed rivals, who have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, claim the region in full but rule in parts.
Geelani, who heads a breakaway faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of political separatists, is backed by most militant groups fighting New Delhi's rule in Kashmir.