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Sri Lanka lifts 'sexist' 39-year ban on women buying alcohol

AFP  |  Colombo 

has lifted a 39-year ban on women buying alcohol or working in places that sell or manufacture liquor, an said today.

The 1979 prohibiting the sale of any type of alcohol to women on the island of 21 million people was overturned in an effort to strike sexist bills from the statute books, said a spokesman for the ministry.

"The idea was to restore gender neutrality," told AFP of the decision Wednesday to roll back the ban.

The move also repeals a ban on women working in places where alcoholic drinks are made or sold, like bars.

vendors are still forbidden to sell spirits to police or members of the armed forces in uniform, Hassen said.

in its November budget unveiled steep rises on hard liquor, but greatly reduced tariffs on wine and beer.

Under new measures also passed by Minister Mangala Samaraweera, bars and pubs can remain open longer.

It was unclear why the ban on women was imposed in the first place, but a ministry said he believed it was intended to appease the conservative Buddhist hierarchy at the time.

The relaxed laws on alcohol have provoked a backlash in some quarters of the majority-Buddhist nation.

The for Consumer Rights Protection accused the of encouraging drinking, and urged to intervene and restore the restrictions.

Samaraweera has said that strict curbs on Sri Lanka's licenced manufacturers only encourage a black market for spirits, and deprive the state of much-needed revenue.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, January 14 2018. 22:25 IST