Spurious alcoholic drinks claimed nine lives, including those of three women, right in the middle of the Bhojpur district headquarters town of Ara in south-central Bihar on early Friday morning.
Earlier, at least 12 persons had died of identical causes in Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar.
All the dead belonged to Anaith locality under Ara Nawada police station of Ara town, about 60 km west of the state capital, Patna. Some others were undergoing treatment at the sadar hospital here.
According to neighbours of the victims, they had consumed ‘illicit liquor’ on the night of Thursday after which their condition deteriorated. Most of the deaths occurred on early Friday.
On hearing the news, Bhojpur district magistrate Pratima and superintendent of police MR Nayak rushed to the spot.
Thereafter, and they went to Sadar hospital to which the bodies of seven victims had been sent for postmortem.
The Bhojpur DM said the reason for the death of the victims would be known only after their postmortem reports became available. “Two or three others, too, are seriously ill”, she stated.
Ara sadar SDO Dharmesh Kumar Singh said at first seven dead bodies had been sent for postmortem by the district administration. “Thereafter, the people of the Anaith informed us about two more deaths”, he added.
The dead bodies identified till the time of filling of this report were those of Jitendra Ram, a mason, Harendra Ram, a vikas mitra, Chanddeo Ram, Manobriti Devi, Dhanna Sah and Manjharo Devi (all resident of Anaith) and Kunti Devi of Aurangabad.
Angry residents of the Anaith blocked the Ara-Sasaram road for a while, claiming that the persons involved in the business of illicit liquor were patronized by the local police.
Bhai Dinesh, RJD MLA from Jagdishpur, who had rushed on the spot, demanded an enquiry into this incident and compensation to the family of victims.
March 23-24, 2000: Five die at Jogipur, in Hanuman Nagar, Patna, after allegedly consuming illicit liquor
February 20, 2011: Seven persons, including four women, die after consuming hooch at Kashipur in Samastipur district of north Bihar
October 1, 2012: Twelve killed at Neknampur village under Dewaria police station of Muzaffarpur district of North Bihar, after drinking spurious alcoholic drink
December 7, 2012: Nine die in Ara town of south-central Bihar early Friday morning allegedly after consuming hooch the night before