At a time when popular protests are spreading across the state against liquor shops, Moolamattom in Idukki is witnessing an interesting fight between women who recently hit the streets demanding the closure of the only alcohol outlet in the panchayat and men who want it to continue business. Interestingly, the men have all the support from the panchayat and the political parties while the women are left with little help other than their will against liquor menace.

Also read: Now, protests spreading across Kerala against relocated liquor shops

Over a hundred people, including workers, politicians and autorickshaw drivers marched to Arakkulam Panchayat office on Friday demanding the liquor outlet run by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation should not be shifted from there under pressure from the women groups. Booze lovers actively participated through out the march, dancing with bottles in hand as they moved ahead, and making a spirited appeal for the liquor shop. 

The march was not completely a male affair though. A woman was also part of the protest, shouting slogans and leading from the front. Recently a citizen's group led by the workers had come out ridiculing the women's agitation against the liquor shop. The traders in the locality had observed a hartal against the demand for making the panchayat liquor-free. The male population started fighting back when they found that the anti-liquor campaign led by the women was gaining momentum. 

Political parties, including UDF, LDF and BJP, rallied behind the men's protest. The liquor shop should be retained in the locality for the development of the area, the agitators demanded. The political parties were, in principle, against alcohol. But they would choose abstinence to prohibition. The UDF, which rules the panchayat, fears that shifting the liquor outlet would cut into the revenue of the panchayat.