Bihar hooch tragedy: Nitish says ‘piyoge toh maroge’, BJP mounts attack
As the toll in the hooch tragedy in Bihar’s Saran district rose to 31, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said those who consume liquor will die
As the toll in the hooch tragedy in Bihar’s Saran district rose to 31, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said those who consume liquor will die.
“Piyoge toh maroge (Those who drink spurious liquor will die),” the chief minister said on the sidelines of a function to mark Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s death anniversary in Patna.
“Last time, when people died due to spurious liquor, someone said they should be compensated. If someone consumes liquor, they’ll die – the example is before us. This should be condemned, those (where tragedies have occurred) places should be visited and people be explained,” he added.
At least 40 people in three villages under Mashrakh, Ishuapur and Amnaur police stations area of Marhaura sub-division in Chhapra area have died so far after allegedly consuming spurious liquor on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. At least 10 people are still undergoing treatment.
Police suspect the deceased and those who fell ill might have purchased the liquor from a common shop in these adjoining villages.
Sale and consumption of alcohol was completely banned in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government in April 2016, though its implementation has been patchy.
Kumar said even prior to the liquor ban in the state, people died after consuming spurious liquor in Bihar and other states. “The people should be alert. As there is a liquor ban here, something spurious will be sold due to which people will die. Liquor is bad and shouldn’t be consumed,” he said.
The chief minister also expressed displeasure over criticisms from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has raised the issue “even inside Parliament”.
“The liquor ban has benefited several people. A large number of people have given up alcohol and a majority have supported it. Several people have happily accepted this. But there are some troublemakers. I have told officers to identify the actual troublemakers and nab them,” he said.
“I’ve told officers that they shouldn’t nab the poor. People manufacturing liquor and carrying out alcohol businesses should be caught. The government is ready to give ₹1 lakh to people to start their (own) work. If required, we’ll raise the amount but nobody should get involved in this business,” he added.
Taking note of the chief minister’s remarks, the BJP said he has become “insensitive” towards the sufferings of the people. “He (Kumar) is only interested in clinging on to his chair. He has become insensitive by resorting to comparisons at a time when the affected people and families need support,” leader of opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha said.
The hooch tragedy echoed in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, during the ongoing winter session of Parliament, after the BJP hit out at the Bihar government, prompting the chair to adjourn the House thrice within a span of 40 minutes.
On Wednesday, BJP MP from Maharajganj, Janardhan Singh Sigriwal, raised the matter in the Lok Sabha and demanded immediate suspension of Saran SP.
The incident also led to an uproar in the Bihar assembly on Wednesday and Thursday after the BJP tried to corner the government over the “complete failure of liquor prohibition”.