Hooch deaths continue in Dry Bihar, Oppn says state govt fudging count

Even as the government has changed and people are expecting some improvement, deaths due to poisonous liquor continue in Bihar, a Dry State.

On Saturday when people of Bihar and other states are celebrating Chhath Puja, two persons died in Begusarai after consuming spurious liquor and two others were admitted to a private hospital and are in serious condition.

The deceased have been identified as Bambam Kumar and Chotu Kumar, natives of Ulav village under Singhauli police station.

Begusarai SP Yogendra Kumar visited the spot and the family members of the deceased informed him about Bambam and Chotu consuming liquor on Friday night.

Five persons mysteriously died in two villages under Kargahar police station in Rohtas district on the day of Diwali. Interestingly, the district civil and police administration claimed that they died due to unknown disease.

These incidents are an indication that the system of Bihar remains the same and only the faces of rulers have been changed.

BJP, which was in power in Bihar for two years in the current government, is now playing a role of critics and pointing out loopholes.

Sushil Kumar Modi, the Rajya Sabha MP of BJP, blamed Nitish Kumar government for hiding the cases of deaths due to spurious liquor.

“In the last 10 months, more than 50 persons lost their lives due to poisonous liquor. The state government is hiding the number of deaths. The latest incident appeared in Rohtas when five persons died mysteriously and district administration is trying to wipe out the incident. The officials of the district pointed out that mysterious disease could be the reason for the deaths. They also allowed cremation to take place without a postmortem,” Modi said.

The Nitish Kumar government also failed to implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) suggested by Patna high court for the people who consumed poisonous liquor and fell ill. Twelve persons died in Banka, 13 in Aurangabad, 17 in Saran, five in Sohsarai and three in Madhepura in the last two months.

“Apart from ill implementation of liquor ban, the consumption, trade and smuggling of contrabands are taking place in large scale in Bihar. Shockingly, a large number of teenagers are involved in smuggling of liquor and contrabands for easy money. The Nitish Kumar government failed to arrest big fishes of liquor and contrabands’s smuggling. The majority of the arrested persons are either teenagers or poor people who were either caught smuggling liquor or contrabands or consuming it,” Modi said.

Gaya police on Saturday seized 40 kg marijuana kept behind a banana in a Mahindra pick-up van. During the Chhath Puja, banana is one of the major fruits used in the making of ‘Prasad’. The narcotics smugglers are utilising the occasion for smuggling marijuana. When they were crossing the area under Barachatti police, the contrabands were seized during vehicle checking. The smugglers manage to flee from the spot.

“One of the main reasons for the ill implementation of liquor ban is the nexus between mafias and the government officials. The liquor mafias are using poor people for smuggling. When they come under the net of security agencies, they are put behind the bars and state police do not bother to go for deep investigation to reach the actual mafias. As a result, a large number of people are put behind bars and it has put a burden on the judiciary,” Modi said.

“According to the report, around 4 lakh cases related to liquor and contraband use and smuggling are pending in various courts of the state. 16 judges are deputed only for the hearing of liquor related cases,” he said.

Leader of opposition in Bihar Legislative Council Samrat Chaudhary on Friday levelled a serious allegation on state police, alleging that a team of Gopalganj police went to extort liquor mafia when boat mishap took place in which one of the constables drowned to death in Gandak river recently.

“The police of Bihar are having a nexus with liquor mafias. As a result, liquor is available at every place in the state. The liquor operation is taking place in Bihar under the protection of state police. The team which went for the raid recently was actually demanding extortion from liquor mafias when a boat mishap took place and one cop drowned to death in Gandak river,” Chaudhary said.

A police team of Jadhawapur received information about the illicit operation of liquor in Rajwa village on October 26. Accordingly, a police team on a boat went there. When it reached the middle of Gandak river, the boat overturned. The other police personnel managed to come out of the river but one of the constables Rajesh Kumar (36) could not swim and drowned.

Chaudhary said that liquor has been banned in Bihar since 2016 but it is available at every place in the state.

20221030-114205

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