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More Kerala Churches upset over new 'liquor policy'

The Syrian Mar Thoma Church and the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church on Thursday lashed out at the Pinarayi Vijayan government in Kerala for deciding to open closed liquor vends.

The Kerala Catholic Bishop's Conference (KCBC) had also slammed the "liquor policy" of the Vijayan government.

The Church heads have said that the government was operating on the sly to open new liquor vends, bars and toddy shops, riding on the Supreme Court verdict.

In 2016, when the Oommen Chandy-led Congress government demitted office, there were two dozen bars that operated in five-star hotels, while around 700 bars in the three-and four-star hotels were shut down.

Chandy's policy envisaged prohibition in Kerala by 2023.

In the Vijayan government's tenure so far, under the Supreme Court directives, there are close to 200 outlets, including four-star hotel bars and wine and beer parlours open in the state and according to reports from the state excise department another 150 bars are going to open soon.

The Thiruvalla headquartered Syrian Mar Thoma Church chief Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan on Thursday said that it is unfortunate that the very same people who spoke about practicing the policy of abstinence are doing exactly the opposite.

With a sizeable Mar Thoma community in Chengannur constituency, Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan said that he will direct his community to exercise their franchise according to their conscience.

Mor Coorilose Geevarghese, head of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, Niranam diocese, said that he failed to understand the logic of this Left government in coming out with this sort of policy, when there is a crucial assembly by-election coming up.

Of the 33.4 million Kerala population, Christians number 61.41 lakh (29.94 lakh males and 31.47 lakh females) and are placed third with the Hindu and Muslim population taking the number one and two spot.

--IANS

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