Women Vow to Rid their Village of Alcohol

The women of Motarga Village in Maharashtra have been fighting a battle against the alcohol traders in their village. Community Correspondent Shanti Yevtikar reports their story. Alcohol had been draining the pockets of their families for years. Worse, the consumption often resulted in the women being abuse, ill-health and for many men end in death. Shanti says that at one point close to 50% of the village's women were widows of men who had drunk themselves to death. Shevabai Panchang, one of the women now fighting to end alcohol abuse says that even the younger boys now want to only drink. Advocacy efforts had finally led to a village resolution in 2010 which banned alcohol sale. At that point things began looking up. People were working, there was money coming in. It was good. But surely a drink every now and then would not be harmful right? Around 2013, country liquor made a surreptitious comeback during the festival season. Since then there has been no going back for the alcohol traders who are presently doing brisk business. The women have now resolved to tackle the issue themselves and are taking on the sellers head on. They have been conducting raids in homes where illegal alcohol is sold. For most women in rural Maharashtra, and even India, to take over spaces traditionally for men is rarely heard of. Even for this group, their activities have resulted in several reprimands from the police, who have asked them to not conduct these raids. The police themselves are doing little to ease the situation. "They tell us not to disturb the sleeping wives and children of these traders...The police conducts raids only after calling up the traders and warning them. We don't mind losing our lives, but we wont sit idle until this alcohol trade has stopped", says Parvati Harale. Call to Action: Please call the Excise Officer of Mukhed Block on 02461237101 and ask him to look into the matter immediately.

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