Hooch claims four more lives in Bihar; toll 40
Samastipur/Patna: Four more deaths, caused by illicit liquor consumption, were on Saturday reported in dry Bihar, where hooch has claimed close to 40 lives in different districts since Diwali.
The latest deaths have been recorded in Samastipur district. Earlier, at least 33 people died in Gopalganj and West Champaran districts upon consuming spurious liquor.
According to Manavjeet Singh Dhillon, the Superintendent of Police of Samastipur, all four deceased, including an Army jawan and a BSF personnel, were residents of villages falling under Rupauli panchayat in Patori police station area.
“Two persons, who had taken ill, are currently undergoing treatment at a hospital. We have learnt that all of them had attended a funeral after which they consumed liquor brought by the Army man who was visiting his home on a holiday,” Dhillon said.
He said a bottle of Indian-made foreign liquor was recovered from the spot where alcohol was said to have been consumed and a team of FSL officials has been summoned for chemical analysis of the contents.
“We are investigating the matter further. Some more people are said to have consumed liquor and understood to have taken ill afterwards. We urge their family members to report the matter to the police. Our top priority is to get the sick treated,” the SP said.
Sale and consumption of alcohol was banned in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government in April, 2016.
Meanwhile, a group of young Congress leaders held a press conference in the state capital to inform that they have written to the governor with the request that Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia be paid to the next of the kin of each deceased, since “the deaths expose the failure of the state government to properly enforce prohibition”.
Rishi Mishra, a former MLA and one of the signatories to the letter, alleged that “the role of the BJP, which is a partner in the ruling alliance, also needs to be investigated. Liquor has been seized in the past from the premises of one of its ministers”.
Mishra, who is the grandson of late Lalit Narayan Mishra, a powerful member of the Indira Gandhi cabinet, was alluding to Ram Surat Rai, a member of the state cabinet. Liquor was recovered from a property owned by his estranged brother earlier this year.
“Moreover, the BJP seems to be so enthusiastic about the ban on liquor in Bihar though it has not imposed prohibition in any other state ruled by it. This duplicity needs to be exposed,” said Mishra, who was earlier a member of Nitish Kuma’s JD(U).