Thiruvananthapuram, August 27, 2014: The use of wine in Mass has become part of a political discussion in Kerala after some groups wanted a ban on wine in the backdrop of the state’s move to implement total alcohol prohibition.
V M Sudheeran, the head of the Congress party in the state, said the demand to ban wine in churches is not correct, reminding that it is part of a ritual and a tradition, which is in vogue for centuries.
“It is for the Christian church to think over whether liquor should be banned. The interference of external forces is not proper,” Sudheeran told media persons here on Monday.
He was responding to a demand put forward by SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan for banning wine in churches also, if curbs are imposed on the sale of liquor in the state.
His reaction comes amid continuing political row over the new liquor policy and community organizations also joining issue with it.
Also the remarks are significant as he has drawn flak over allegations that he had hobnobbed with Church leaders to facilitate an atmosphere to promote his stand against renewal of licenses of closed liquor vends in the state.
Admitting what the Excise Minister K Babu had stated on the possibility of a hooch tragedy was true, Sudheeran said that he had informed the CM and Ministers of Home, Excise and Revenue as and when he got information on it.
“It was after that the government and various departments maintained vigil,” Sudheeran claimed.
“I congratulate the government for taking steps to prevent a hooch tragedy,” he added.
“I don’t know as to why Minister Babu had criticized me,” Sudheeran said, making an apparent climb down from his reported stand that the Excise Minister had vitiated the bar license renewal issue through his “provocative” statements.