PATNA Bihar’s ‘harsh’ anti-liquor law appears to have failed to deter students and their guests from consuming alcohol and brawling, in some boys’ hostels of Patna university (PU).
The Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, which came into force on October 2 last year, provides for arrest of all adults in case of recovery of liquor bottle from a house and collective fine on a place in case of habitual violation of prohibition.
The prohibition law in the state has been described in some quarters as ‘draconian’ as it prescribes even capital punishment for a certain category of cases, a minimum 10-year jail or life imprisonment being the norm as punishment for consumption of liquor.
Yet, many inmates of boys’ hostels in Patna university, Bihar’s top varsity for higher learning, appear to be sufficiently unfazed by these tough provisions to indulge in drinking binges on campus.
This became clear early Sunday when a police team led by Patna town deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Kailash Prasad raided a hostel at BN College in PU and arrested three students who were allegedly consuming liquor on the premises and causing nuisance.
The arrested students were identified as Gautam Kumar, Saurabh Kumar and Niraj Kumar, while a fourth student, Kunal Singh, dodged the police and escaped from the spot. However, no liquor bottle was recovered from the possession of the arrested students.
The raid was effected after a complaint was received at the Patna police control room about some unruly students causing on the hostel campus.
"The students consumed liquor on the hostel premises and were causing much disturbance under the influence of alcohol. When one of the students, who was preparing for an examination in his room, objected to their misconduct , a brawl ensued”, said an officer of Patna’s Pirbahore police station, investigating the case.
The miscreants, armed with stumps and sticks, allegedly slapped another student and even threatened other inmates with physical assault. Sources said when things began going out of hand, a hosteller called up senior SP (SSP) Manu Maharaaj, who ordered action by the police.
“This was not a standalone incident. Partying students get into brawls and fisticuffs on a regular basis, as the university authorities turn a blind eye to the goings on”, said a PU hosteller.
Official sources confirmed arms and ammunitions, besides bomb making material, had been recovered from PU hostels earlier. There was also a case of a girl being found with a hostel inmate during a recent raid by the police.
Reached for a reaction, the Patna SSP told HT that a special drive would be launched against alcohol consumption in hostels of PU. “Those arrested for drinking and causing nuisance early Sunday have been sent to jail under the provisions of the Bihar prohibition and excise act”, he said.