Church support for Indian alcohol ban

The Deputy Moderator of the Church of South India has backed the plan to ban the sale of alcohol in South India

The Deputy Moderator of the Church of South India has backed the plan to ban the sale of alcohol in South India following assurances from the government Congress Party government of Kerala state that the ban would not extend to communion wine. On 28 Sept 2014 the Bishop in Central Kerala, the Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, told reporters attending celebrations marking the 150th anniversary of St Mary’s Church in Nadakkavu in Kerala : “The government deserves a pat on its back for saving families who were on the verge of peril” from alcohol. Statistics provided by India’s Alcohol and Drug Information Centre report that 69 per cent of crimes, 40 per cent of road accidents and 80 per cent of divorce and domestic violence cases in Kerala were linked to the drugs and alcohol last year. Hindu nationalist leaders had urged the government to use its monopoly on the sale of alcohol to ban communion wine. But the Congress leader in Kerala, V.M. Sudheeran, said his party would not introduce sectarian issues into what it saw as a health issue, noting the consumption of communion wine during the Christians’ Eucharist was not a contributing factor to public drunkenness. Bishop Oommen, who is also the president of the All Kerala Joint Christian Temperance Movement, said the drop in crime experienced in the last month due to prohibition was evidence the campaign was working. “This cannot be taken lightly,” he told The Hindu.

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