Patna, April 25 (IANS) Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan staged a sit-in here on Monday to protest against the ban on the sale of toddy that is the main source of livelihood for the Mahadalit Pasi caste.
Paswan, who is chief of the Lok Janshakti Party, demanded lifting of the ban on the sale of toddy, locally known as ‘taadi’.
“The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar should withdraw the ban to help the Pasis earn their livelihood,” Paswan told the media here.
Paswan threatened to intensify the agitation if his demand was not met.
Last week, hundreds of toddy tappers opposed the ban and drank toddy in public to register their protest.
After thousands of ‘desi’ or country-made liquor shops in rural Bihar and Indian Made Foreign Liquor shops in urban areas were closed following a total liquor ban imposed from April 1, the Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government banned the sale of toddy also.
It evoked strong protests from the Pasi community.
As per the state government’s decision, anyone found selling toddy faces arrest. But the government has no objection if anyone is skilled enough to tap toddy for self-consumption.
Former chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha president Jitan Ram Manjhi too has opposed the toddy ban, saying it was wrong to ban the sale of toddy in Bihar.