‘If you consume liquor, you will die’: Nitish on Bihar hooch tragedy; toll rises to 39

‘If you consume liquor, you will die’: Nitish on Bihar hooch tragedy; toll rises to 39

NEW DELHI: “If someone consumes liquor, they’ll die,” Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said in the wake of the hooch tragedy in Saran district where at least 39 people have lost their lives and several are still hospitalised.
“Last time, when people died due to spurious liquor, someone said they should be compensated. If someone consumes liquor, they’ll die – example is before us. This should be condoled, those places should be visited and people should be explained,” Nitish Kumar said.

The Bihar chief minister also asked people to be alert. “As there is a liquor ban here, something spurious will be sold due to which people die. Liquor is bad and shouldn’t be consumed,” he said.

“I’ve told officers that they shouldn’t nab poor. People manufacturing liquor and carrying out alcohol business should be caught. Ready to give Rs 1 Lakh to people to start their work. We’ll raise amount if needed, but nobody should get involved in this business,” the Bihar chief minister said.
The sale and consumption of alcohol were banned in Bihar by the Nitish government in 2016.
Here are the latest developments:

  • Nitish Kumar has defended liquor ban and has said that the “troublemakers” should be nabbed. “The liquor ban has benefitted several people. A large number of people have given up alcohol. This is good. Several people have happily accepted this. But there are some troublemakers. I have told officers to identify the actual troublemakers and nab them,” he said.
  • Marhaura sub-divisional police officer has been transferred and Masrakh SHO Ritesh Mishra and constable Vikesh Tiwari have been suspended with immediate effect over the incident.
  • According to Sunil Kumar, the state’s minister for prohibition, the deaths have been reported from Mashrak and Isuapur police station areas of Saran.
  • The incident triggered an uproar in Bihar assembly on Wednesday, with opposition leaders mounting a strong attack on chief minister Nitish Kumar targeting the state government over prohibition of alcohol in the state. Later, Nitish Kumar lost his cool in the assembly and lashed out at opposition saying ”Sharabi ho gaye ho tum…(you are drunk)”.
  • Union minister Giriraj Singh slammed said if Kumar’s policies were not being implemented on the ground then the chief minister should resign. “This incident is the misfortune of Bihar. Since the liquor policy has been implemented in Bihar, several thousand people have died, mostly poor. But Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s sympathy is not awakened and when someone raises it in the House, he is treated in a way that no one expects from a CM,” Giriraj Singh told ANI.
  • Dr Sagar Dulal Sinha, the Civil Surgeon-cum-Medical Officer In-charge of Saran, said, “Most of them were declared dead at a hospital in Chhapra, the district headquarters. Some, who had been ill since Tuesday morning, died while undergoing treatment”.
  • The district administration has constituted teams of officials, who will tour the affected villages and meet the bereaved families to track down those who might have served illicit liquor.
  • Leader of the opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha of BJP blamed the illegal supply of liquor for law-and-order problems in Bihar, saying prohibition had spawned a new breed of criminal elements rather than curbing crime.
  • State parliamentary affairs minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said there was nothing wrong with prohibition but admitted “a sound mechanism” was required to implement it.
  • After the deaths, the angry villagers blocked the Masrakh Hanuman Chowk on State Highway – 90 by keeping the bodies on the road. Locals raised slogans against the district administration. A heavy police force was deployed to control the situation.

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