Guest Control Order not gospel truth, can be changed: Zulfkar

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Jammu: Stating that the "Guest Control Order" for curbing expenses in marriages is for the society's welfare, the Jammu and Kashmir government today sought people's feedback to make necessary changes in it.

"The Guest Control Order is not a gospel truth which cannot be changed. It is in a evolutionary phase," Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Zulfkar Ali Ali said here and sought feedback from people to make necessary changes in it.

"If suggestions seem genuine, they would surely be incorporated in the order to make it better," he assured.

 The Minister said people have to understand that 'Guest Control Order' is an initiative taken for their welfare, and making its implementation a success would help to make a better society.

 Shrinking the big fat Kashmiri wedding and other opulent functions, the Jammu and Kashmir government had recently issued the "Guest Control Order" to impose curbs on expenses, the guest list and dishes to be served on such occasions.

 It had also put a ban on the use of amplifiers, loud speakers and fire crackers at such events in the state. The order will be implemented from April 1.

 Under criticism from civil society and some political organisations over the said order, Ali said the government has no intention to interfere in someone's religious belief, it is for the welfare of everyone from Hindu to Muslim to Sikh or Christian.

 BJP state unit chief Sat Pal Sharma (MLA) had said," The decision is interference in the religious affairs of the Hindus and it should not be implemented hastily."

 The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party had stated that the rule defied all logic and rationale and was a "violation of fundamental rights".

 Speaking at an interactive session with the representatives of various civil societies, the Minister said that people from all quarters have been complaining about the menace of extravagant expenditure on social functions, especially marriage ceremonies.

 He said there were many instances when some people have come to him to seek some financial assistance to organise the marriage functions."Concept of marriage is to bring joy in the family, not to give sleepless nights to the parents," he said.

"Due to societal compulsions, majority of the families are forced to exhaust all their savings only to follow the trend set by some affluent," he said, adding 'Guest Control' is a respite for the majority population who suffer in the race to match the elites."

 The Minister assured that the order by no means would facilitate or support 'Inspector Raj'.

He said, "people need to introspect themselves for whose rights are getting trampled when loud music is played late in night, and a patient in next house is not able to get the much needed rest."

 The minister questioned who would secure the future of a student when "we do not let him concentrate on his studies by playing loud music and cracking loud crackers."

 Seeking support from the civil society, Zulfkar Ali said "We all have to work together to weed out evils from the society" and asked the leaders of the civil societies to make a conscious effort to raise awareness among masses.

 He said those who try to oppose the government order would be dealt by the law accordingly.

Responding to the demand by various civil society leaders to decrease the guest number, the Minister acknowledged that he is well aware that the number was quite large.

 According to the 'Guest Control Order', the number of guests to be invited on the marriage of daughter including baraat should be restricted to a maximum of 500 and on that of son, it should not exceed 400.

 The Minister said the order was finalised so that the interests of everyone from catering business to banquet hall owners are taken care off.

 However, he said to fix the system "a step at a time needs to be taken...Rushing to correct everything in one go would only harm instead of doing any good.

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