Mass prayers to keep Mizoram prohibition
Aizawl, March 4
Mizoram Synod’s second highest decision-making body, the Synod Executive Committee (SEC) of the Presbyterian Church of India, the most powerful church in Mizoram, decided to organize mass prayers across the state to pray for continuation of the Prohibition law, which has been in force in the state for 17 years.The church decided that mass prayers should be held at all local churches across the state on March 9 (Sunday) night and also submitted a written statement airing the stance of the church on prohibition to the chief minister.
The SEC, in a statement, said the church believed that Mizoram had been peaceful and the lives of the people pure due to the imposition of the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1995, since February 20, 1997.
“We have information that the state government is contemplating reviewing the dry law and making changes and the Presbyterian Church felt that the stance of the church required to be reiterated,” the statement said.
The Synod authority said that in accordance with the teachings of The Bible, alcohol caused serious harm to human beings and should not be allowed to be freely available.
“Alcohol causes so many social evils including murder, rape, vehicle accidents and more,” the statement said.
The church said it wanted not only continuation of the dry law but also to strengthen it and appealed to the church members to pray for its continued enforcement in the state.
The SEC had convened a meeting of all newly-elected legislators on Tuesday at the J M Lloyd Hall in the Synod Conference Centre when a written statement in which the church’s stance on prohibition was mentioned was given to all the legislators.
The state excise and narcotics department had initiated a change in the prohibition and the Mizoram Excise Bill, 2014, to replace the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act, 1995, was drafted and sent to the state law department for approval.
Excise and narcotics minister R Lalzirliana had earlier said they intended to introduce the bill during the coming budget session of the state legislature commencing from March 18.
Many people in the state, including social workers and civil societies like the Mizoram Journalists’ Association (MJA) and the Mizoram Bar Association had said the dry law was an utter failure and had done more harm than good during the 17 years of its imposition.
Powerful NGO Young Mizo Association and other NGOs also felt that the prohibition had not been successful. Many people also felt that the church was interfering with the policy-making of the government which was against the spirit of secularism.
The church, however, stuck to its guns and it was yet to be seen whether the state government would succumb to pressure from the powerful church yet again.