One must have seen numerous devotees bathing in the holy Kali Bein in the past, but when residents of Nawan Pind Bhathe and nearby villages dived into the holy water channel on Monday, they were not seeking spiritual bliss but liquor bottles.
Many who dived into the holy waters could lay their hands on a bottle or two of the country-made liquor, but some were plain lucky to get hold of full cases of the spirit.
It was learnt that a child, while playing along the Kali Bein, had come across bags containing bottles of liquor/wine lying on the riverbed. As the news spread, residents of nearby villages made a beeline for the spot and dived in to get hold of country-made liquor bottles.
By the time police reached the spot, villagers had retrieved all the bottles from riverbed and taken them away.
SHO Kotwali Naresh Joshi told HT, "We have tightened the noose against liquor smugglers. It seems that someone, in order to escape police, threw the whole consignment of liquor in the Kali Bein and must have planned to retrieve it after a few days."
Meanwhile, noted environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal criticized the development.
"Before we took over the responsibility of cleaning the Kali Bein, it was a common practice among area people to throw tubes full of liquor in the holy waters full of hyacinth so as to keep it away from police, but the practice had decreased afterwards.
"If someone has tried to use the Kali Bein for this ulterior motive again, he should be identified and punished severely because the holy Kali Bein has become a symbol of trust for many," he said.