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‘If you Drink, you Will die,’ says Nitish as 8 More Dead in Hooch Tragedy

Nearly, 24 incidents of deaths caused by illicit liquor were reported in the last seven-and-a-half months.
‘If you Drink, you Will die,’ says Nitish as 8 More Dead in Hooch Tragedy

Nitish Kumar. Image Courtesy: NDTV

Patna: Another eight people died in ‘dry’ Bihar after consuming illicit liquor in the Saran district in the last 48 hours even as chief minister Nitish Kumar said on Friday that “if you drink, you will die”. Early this month, 12 people had died and more than a dozen others lost vision in other hooch tragedies in the same district.

According to reports, eight residents of Audh and Bhuwalpur villages, under the Marhaura and Garkha police stations, respectively, died after allegedly consuming illicit liquor on Thursday. Two villagers lost vision and nearly half-a-dozen others were hospitalised.

According to the families of the victims, most of them complained of uneasiness, stomach pain and weakness and started vomiting.

Nearly, two dozen such incidents were reported across the state in the last seven-and-a-half months claiming the lives of dozens of people. Last year, 95 people died after consuming illicit liquor. Despite Kumar declaring Bihar a dry state in 2016, country-made and foreign liquor continue to be readily available.

Police personnel involved in the crackdown against liquor manufacturers and traders and doctors treating victims of hooch tragedies have said time and again that poisonous chemicals are used to manufacture such alcohol.

The second coalition, or Mahagathbandhan, government led by Kumar would be under pressure to enforce his much-hyped prohibition policy. Kumar in his usual style on Friday said that he has been warning people that liquor is a bad thing and “if you drink, you will die”. His statement was termed “insensitive” by opposition BJP.

Before Mahagathbandhan 2.0, RJD, Congress and Left parties were targeting the state government for arresting lakhs of poor and Dalits under the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, with most being implicated. They had alleged that the real liquor manufacturers and traders are beyond the government’s reach. They questioned how liquor is readily available in the dry state and flows freely in different districts that are not connected with the borders of other states or neighbouring Nepal. Now, these parties will be answerable to the people.

Earlier, Left parties had dared the state government to probe the politician-administration-liquor manufacturer “nexus”, which is allegedly behind the production and sale of illicit liquor.

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