Critics point to Sirisena’s double standard, as he has boasted of efforts to involve more women in Sri Lanka’s politics but seems set on keeping freedoms limited in aspects of social life.

The government had announced it would amend the 1979 law prohibiting the sale of any type of alcohol to women on the basis that it discriminated against women.

The National Movement for Consumer Rights Protection accused the government of encouraging drinking.

Sirisena said Sunday his decision was based on criticism received after Wednesday’s announcement.

Sri Lanka in its November budget unveiled steep tax hikes on hard liquor, but significantly reduced tariffs on wine and beer.

You know it's bad for women in Sri Lanka when our Head of State- a man who regularly peddles "gender equality" on stage- thinks that men can make choices for us.

Sirisena’s announcement Sunday drew ire on social media. The president is in his third year in office and has been criticized for mixed messages on gender equality on the island of 21 million.

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