Bihar claimed to have forged a world record on Saturday as tens of thousands of people came together in support of prohibition, forming a chain which the ruling JD(U) said stretched for more than 11,000 kms across 38 districts.
Officials said three Isro satellites, four trainer aircraft, choppers and 40 drones filmed the entire event played out over 3,000 km of National Highways and 8,285 km of state highways and roads.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who kept a poll promise by announcing total prohibition on April 5 last, led the landmark event which was also attended by RJD chief Lalu Prasad and state Congress chief Ashok Choudhury.
“The human chain made of some 2.5 crore (25 million) of its 11 crore (110 million) population holding hands has broken a Guinness world record, set up in 2004 in Bangladesh, which extended across 10,000 km,” said Ajay Alok, spokesperson of the JD(U).
It was, however, not immediately verifiable.
The chain was billed as a social message against addiction, and specifically in favour of prohibition,
Despite opposition from many, the Kumar government has clamped down severely on anyone found violating the ban.
Education department officials, who anchored the event, said an estimated 1.57 crore government school children, 4 lakh teachers, 5 lakh college students and 70 lakh self-help group women, powered the event, besides some 1.70 lakh Anganwadi workers among others.
The state had got 1.20 crore families of students to sign a document supporting prohibition last September. However, BJP leaders, who had congregated for the party’s state executive meeting in Siwan, played down the event, describing it as the government’s “spider web to distract people from the failing law and order situation”.
Union minister Giriraj Singh said he refused to participate in the event though Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on January 5 praised the resilience of the chief minister in initiating this “brave move”. Tibet’s spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama, had also praised the measure on January 13.