24 dead in Bihar after allegedly consuming spurious liquor
At least 24 people have died and several others fell ill after allegedly consuming spurious liquor in two districts of Bihar over the last two days, news agency PTI reported. The incidents took place in Gopalganj and West Champaran districts even though there is a complete liquor ban in place. Here are more details on this.
Why does this story matter?
The incident has highlighted the Bihar government's failure to curb the sale and consumption of liquor despite a total ban. In October, eight people had died in similar incidents in Muzaffarpur. From January till October this year, around 70 people lost their lives due to similar reasons. The state government had banned the manufacture, transportation, sale, and consumption of liquor on April 5, 2016.
8 dead in West Champaran; 16 in Gopalganj
Of the deceased, eight people died on Thursday after allegedly consuming hooch in Telhua village of West Champaran while the toll in Gopalganj rose to 16 on the same day. Several others are currently undergoing treatment. The Telhua incident is the third such in northern Bihar over the last 10 days. The district administrations have not confirmed the cause of deaths yet.
4 arrested; 2 cops suspended
Gopalganj Deputy Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Kumar Singh said four people have been arrested so far. Police also seized 30 pouches of "desi liquor" from the houses of two accused. Several others were detained while two police officers have been reportedly suspended. West Champaran Superintendent of Police Upendra Nath Verma said investigation in the case is underway.
'A conspiracy, says Bihar Minister
Meanwhile, Bihar Minister Janak Ram visited the families of those who died in the incident. "It could be a conspiracy to defame the NDA government," he said. National Democratic Alliance or NDA is the ruling alliance in Bihar.
Opposition attacks CM Nitish Kumar
Opposition leaders, on the other hand, have slammed the government over the tragedy. Tejashwi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) said the government has failed in enforcing the liquor ban. "Police are disposing off the bodies of the dead without conducting the post-mortem of the dead," he alleged. "Is Nitish Kumar, who is making tall claims on prohibition, not responsible for these deaths?"