Yet Another Hooch Tragedy In Dry State Bihar Shows Liquor Ban Is Doing More Harm Than Good
The death toll from suspected consumption of spurious liquor in Bihar’s Saran district has risen to 24, with many more under treatment in hospitals.
According to Sunil Kumar, the state’s minister for prohibition, the deaths have been reported from Mashrak and Isuapur police station areas of Saran.
What happened in Sarna?
Saran SP Santosh Kumar confirmed the postmortem of 17 bodies in the alleged hooch tragedy.
Many more are undergoing treatment in hospitals with complaints of uneasiness, nausea, breathlessness, stomach pain and blurry vision.
According to the police, the victims had consumed liquor till late on Tuesday at a local joint and fell ill after returning home.
Following the incident, police arrested three liquor smugglers during the raid.
Bihar’s failed liquor ban
The deaths have again put the focus back on the liquor ban in the state.
Bihar has been a dry state since April 2016, when the Nitish Kumar government banned the sale and consumption of alcohol.
However, this has only made ‘quality’ liquor inaccessible while moonshine and smuggled alcohol remain available in most places.
This often has led to deadly consequences like what happened in Saran on Wednesday.
Liquor banned, but deaths continue
Since the liquor ban was enacted, Bihar has seen several hooch tragedies claiming hundreds of lives.
The failure to implement the liquor ban and continued deaths from consuming adulterated alcohol has put Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on the back foot.
The CM has been under increasing pressure from allies and opposition alike to revoke the ban but has remained adamant on his decision.
Can’t impose ban
“You can’t impose a ban. Through awareness and counselling you should make people understand that consumption of liquor is injurious to health,” RJD MLA Sudhakar Singh told ANI.
The issue was also raised in the Parliament on Wednesday by BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the MP from Saran.
“We have seen tourism in India and the world but not death tourism, which began in my area yesterday (Tuesday).”
“I have been only counting the number of people dying,” he added.
He also pointed out that there is a prohibition on liquor in Gujarat, but nobody dies of spurious liquor consumption there.
Another BJP MP, Janardan Singh Sigriwal, claimed that hundreds of people die every day after consuming illicit liquor in Bihar.
Sarna liquor tragedy in Bihar Assembly
The issue was also raised in the Bihar Assembly on Wednesday.
“We have liquor prohibition law in Bihar, still people are drinking it and dying. Deaths due to consumption of liquor proved that it is not a right thing for health,” Bihar Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said.
“When the liquor prohibition law was implemented in Bihar Vidhan Sabha in 2016, every party supported it. They are making allegations against the state government,” Chaudhary said.
“Those who consume liquor do not care about their health and society. If anyone is dying due to consumption of liquor, is actually proving the relevance of liquor prohibition law. If it is available despite prohibition and people are drinking, it is an offence. The state government believes that it is a wrong practice and they are liable to face legal action,” Chaudhary said.
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