NEW DELHI: In 2005, his uncle died of liver failure due to heavy drinking, and then in 2008, his sister-in-law committed suicide due to her husband’s drinking problem. “My alcoholic father beats my mother every day. All my efforts of taking him to the rehabilitation centre have proved to be of no use,” said Tamil Nadu-based David Raja, who is on hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi for the past nine days, seeking ban on alcohol in his state.
He doesn’t understand Hindi, but with high spirits, the 29-year-old came to Delhi 100 days back, and started protesting. All these days, he wrote more than a dozen letters, representations, and memorandums to the Prime Minister raising his issue, but to no avail.
Raja, a national-level fencing player, has won 10 medals, and he was among the three players selected by the Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune, when fencing was introduced as a game for the first time.
“I led a protest for the first time when my uncle died,” said Raja, who has led more than 200 protests back home. But no one listened to him, rather he was sent to jail on remand.
“I was brutally beaten up by the cops, and came home with a broken leg, hand and back. This was the reason I couldn’t go to the ASI that had selected me as its training officer,” he said.
“I am pained to see people drinking in front of me. Till date, I have taken 300 people to rehabilitation centres, but some of them start drinking again. This can stop, only if the government puts ban on liquor,” said Raja, who had come to Delhi with 15 other people, who were supporting the cause. But now, he is the only one waiting for a ray of hope.
David alleged that he was even pressurised by the Delhi cops to withdraw his protest saying they had no space for people staging protests demanding liquor ban.