Twelve schoolgirls were injured when people engaged in illegal liquor allegedly attacked them at Beda village in Sasaram Mufassil police station area of Bihar’s Rohtas district, 158 km from state capital Patna, on Monday afternoon.
The girls from Banarasia village were passing though Beda while returning home from their school when they were beaten up mercilessly.
The attack is seen as a retaliatory action after villagers of Banarasia cordoned off Beda and destroyed illegal liquor manufacturing units as well as thousands of litres of alcoholic brew on Sunday.
Manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol is banned in Bihar since April 5, 2015.
Superintendent of police, Rohtas, Manavjeet Singh Dhillon said villagers had lodged a named FIR against 40 persons for the attack on girls. While three of the accused had been arrested, raids were on to nab the absconders, he said.
Elaborating on the chain of events, police said villagers of Banarasia, while returning home after participating in Saturday’s human chain event in support of Bihar government’s de-addiction drive, had threatened “to teach the traders a lesson” if they did not stop their illegal business.
On Sunday, after lodging a complaint with Mufassil police at Sasaram, many people from Banarasia reached Beda and attacked the houses where liquor was being brewed illegally. A police team also joined them in destroying the spiced alcohol as well as the illegal manufacturing units.
Angry over the complaint, the people whose liquor was destroyed targeted the schoolgirls on Monday, injuring Rani, Pinki, Rukmani, Mania, Chanda, Kanchan, Sapana, Raushani and some others.
A few villagers from Banarasia, who reached Beda to rescue the girls, were also assaulted.
Protesting against the incident, the people from Banarasia blocked the national highway (NH)-2 along which Beda is situated and demanded arrest of liquor traders. They also raised slogans against police, alleging that they were hand in glove with the liquor mafia. The blockade was lifted after three hours following assurance of suitable action by sub-divisional police officer Alok Ranjan.
Meanwhile, the Rohtas SP said police had sent a proposal to the district magistrate for imposing collective fine on villagers of Beda and Banarasia for “continuing the illegal business despite frequent raids. “The people of Banarasia had approached police, requested them not to impose fine and offered help in conducting raids of liquor manufacturers. Police, on Sunday raided the illegal units with the people of Banarasia. This apparently angered the traders who assaulted the girls in an act of revenge, Dhillon said.