More than 24 people have died and several others fell ill, after consuming suspected spurious liquor in Gopalganj and West Champaran districts of Bihar in the last two days. Complete prohibition is in place in the two districts.
Eight people died after allegedly consuming hooch in Telhua village at Bettiah, the headquarters of West Champaran district on Thursday (November 4), while the count in another incident of consumption of suspected spurious liquor in Gopalganj climbed to 16, with six more deaths being confirmed by the district authorities.
The administrations of both districts have not confirmed the cause of the deaths so far.
The Telhua hooch tragedy is the third such incident in north Bihar in the last 10 days. “I have visited the houses of persons who died allegedly because of consuming spurious liquor. It could be a conspiracy to defame the NDA government,” Bihar minister Janak Ram said.
Gopalganj senior police officer Anand Kumar said, “Some people have died under mysterious circumstances in Muhammadpur village in the district in the last two days. The cause of their death cannot be confirmed as autopsy reports are still awaited. Three teams are probing the case.”
The local police said that the bodies of some of them have been cremated by their families.
The police said that four people died on Thursday, when they were undergoing treatment, and another two on way to the hospital.
Prima facie these deaths appear to have occurred due to the consumption of some poisonous substance. “Four persons have been arrested in connection with the incident that took place between Tuesday and Wednesday,” the police said.
Over 20 persons had allegedly consumed spurious liquor being sold by local traders in the area, and have been identified by the police.
Villagers claimed that all the victims had consumed liquor at Chamartoli area of Telhua village on Wednesday evening. “After consuming liquor, the condition of eight of them deteriorated and they were taken to the nearby hospital where they died today,” the villagers said.
There are reports that some more villagers who too consumed liquor, have been admitted to different hospitals in the area.
Eight persons have died since October 28 in a hooch tragedy at Rupauli village in Muzaffarpur district and four are undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Muzaffarpur, according to the officials.
According to the officials, around 70 people have died and many others lost their sight after consuming alleged spurious liquor in Nawada, West Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Siwan and Rohtas districts, from January till October 31.
Nitish Kumar on Monday told reporters in the sidelines of his weekly outreach programme that the ban on alcohol is in the interest of the society. “We introduced prohibition in the state since alcohol is a dirty thing. The ill-effects of liquor get multiplied when consumed in an adulterated form. I know that majority of people are in favour of the liquor ban in the state. There are only a handful of people who violate it,” he said.
The Nitish Kumar government had banned the manufacture, trade, storage, transportation, sale and consumption of liquor in the state, on April 5, 2016.
The Chief Minister appealed to the people to cooperate in the mission as “liquor is bad for health and society”.
Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav alleged that the state government has failed to stop the sale and supply of spurious liquor in the dry state.
“Police is disposing of the bodies of the dead without conducting the post-mortem of the dead. Is Nitish Kumar, who is making tall claims on prohibition, not responsible for these deaths?” Yadav said.
(With inputs from Agencies)