Like-minded opposition parties on Tueday criticising the NHRC for rushing a team to Bihar in wake of the Saran hooch tragedy, but not demonstrating the same zeal in prior incidents, when the BJP was in power there, or when similar incidents occurred in other states like Gujarat, UP, and Haryana, ruled by the BJP.
“The double standard of the Modi government is evidenced by the fact that from 2016, when prohibition was imposed by the Bihar government, led by the JD-U-BJP, to 2021, there have been over 200 hooch-related deaths in the state, but the NHRC never felt the need to investigate any such incident,” the opposition said in a statement.
“We are saddened and shocked by the death of 38 people in Bihar caused by the consumption of spurious liquor. The government of Bihar has taken stringent steps to tackle bootleggers and arrack makers. It has also deployed mass-outreach campaigns highlighting the dangers of consuming spurious liquor and reminding the people to prioritize their health.
“However, the ruling regime has once again demonstrated that there is no tragedy which it will not seek to leverage for its own political gain. Following these tragic deaths, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) team rushed to the districts of Saran and Siwan in Bihar to investigate the hooch tragedy.”
The opposition said that there are numerous other cases where the NHRC never demonstrated the slightest interest in such incidents.
It listed some of these, in the last two years, as when over 45 people died, and several others were hospitalised after aaconsuming spurious alcohol in villages of Ahmedabad, Surendranagar, and Botad in Gujarat in July this year, when 36 people died due to consumption of spurious liquor in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh in May 2021 or when 40 people died and some fell ill in Haryana’s Panipat and Sonipat districts after consuming adulterated liquor in November 2020.
Then, the opposition noted that 24 people died in the hooch tragedy in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena in January 2021, and 14 people died in the Ujjain hooch tragedy in October 2020.
The statement said that in 2021, 782 persons lost their lives by consuming spurious liquor, of which 108 were from Madhya Pradesh alone and 104 were in Karnataka. In the last six years, 1,322 persons died in Madhya Pradesh alone due to spurious liquor.
As per data placed in Lok Sabha, 6,954 persons have died in the country between 2016 to 2021. Yet in none of these cases, has the NHCR demonstrated as keen an interest as it has done in the case of Bihar, the opposition said.
“We like-minded opposition parties condemn this brazen attempt to seek political mileage from such a devastating tragedy. We condemn the use of the NHRC in such a brazenly partisan and political manner which is an insult to the memory of those who have died as well as their families,” the statement said.
“It is apparent that NHRC is being sent only to the non-BJP ruled states as the intent seems to be only to destabilise the opposition-ruled governments.
“Sadly, the NHRC and the NCPCR appear to have become the latest tools in the hands of the Modi government after using the ED, the CBI, IT Department etc to target political opponents since last 8 years.”