Following the Sri Rama Sena outrage at a pub in Mangalore, chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa has announced that he will not allow the growth of “pub culture” in Karnataka. In almost identical comments yesterday, the Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot has said he wanted to end “pub culture” in the State. The booze culture had resulted in the rape of foreign tourists besides resulting in an increase in cases of road rage and violence among youth, he said.
“The government policy is not to promote liquor culture. The previous government encouraged drinking habits. The government feels continuing such official support to drinking through government policies would adversely affect the health of the citizens and the culture of Rajasthan,” Gehlot has been quoted as saying. “There is going to be no attempt to curb the individual’sfreedom of choices, which is a sacrosanct area.”
Questions: Merely because the Congress and BJP are both advocating it, is a ban on “pub culture” right? What is “pub culture”, and are governments right in seeking to curb it? Or are governments, which are so heavily dependent on revenue from liquor sales, running with the hares and hunting with the hounds? If the sale of liquor is all right, is consuming it wrong? Instead of tightening law and order, are governments transgressing on individual choices and opening the floodgates of harassment and extortion?