Bihar hooch tragedy: No compensation for deceased’s families, says Nitish | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Bihar hooch tragedy: No compensation for deceased’s families, says Nitish

By, Patna
Dec 16, 2022 11:52 PM IST

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday waded deeper into a controversy already triggered by his remarks, as he said no compensation will be provided to the families of those who died in Saran after consuming spurious liquor.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday waded deeper into a controversy already triggered by his remarks, as he said no compensation will be provided to the families of those who died in Saran after consuming spurious liquor, a statement that raised questions on the government’s stand on a day the death toll rose to 65.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said no compensation will be provided to the families of those who died in the Saran hooch tragedy. (HT file photo)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said no compensation will be provided to the families of those who died in the Saran hooch tragedy. (HT file photo)

While the deaths caused by spurious liquor in Saran were the highest in such an incident since prohibition was brought into effect in Bihar in 2016, five more people died in a similar incident in Siwan district on Friday.

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Kumar’s statement came a day after he said that those who consume liquor will die – a remark that the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) described as “insensitive”.

Also Read | 'Arey, tum bol rahe ho…': Nitish loses temper as BJP questions liquor ban. Watch

Speaking in the state assembly on Friday, Kumar said, “There should be no sympathy for those who die after consuming spurious liquor.”

He added: “I am saying that those who drink will die. Now, I will once again go to the people and publicise the same. There is no question of giving any compensation for the deaths. There should be no sympathy for those who die after consuming spurious liquor.”

At least 65 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 late on Tuesday. Police suspect the deceased and those who fell ill might have purchased the liquor from a shop in these adjoining villages.

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Hospital records showed 65 people have died so far. The post-mortem on 38 people have been conducted so far.

Kumar’s remarks were in response to a demand by Satyendra Yadav, an MLA from the CPM – part of the Mahagathbandhan or Grand Alliance – that the government pay compensation to the kin of those who died in the hooch tragedy.

“Giving any compensation would go against the spirit of the prohibition law. Why should we then need prohibition? People who are now protesting against the tragedy were in support of the liquor ban till recently. Now, when they are in the Opposition, they are opposing it,” Kumar said in an apparent jibe at the BJP for seeking a review of the prohibition policy.

Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and the BJP were in an alliance in the state until the former called it off in August this year to once again form the Mahagathbandhan with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and other parties.

Sale and consumption of alcohol was completely banned in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government in April 2016, though its implementation has been patchy.

On Friday, five people died after allegedly consuming spurious liquor in Siwan district.

Kumar also took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying: “Jo desh mein raaj kar rahein hain, unke state mein kya ho raha hai. ( What is happening in the state from where the person ruling the country belongs)”, he said.

On Thursday, deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said that according to data from the Union home ministry, Gujarat recorded a high number of hooch deaths. Modi hails from Gujarat.

Kumar also took a dig at the CPM legislator, saying “Left parties, CPI and CPM have always supported prohibition and also supported him when he contested the parliamentary elections”.

Reacting to Kumar’s remarks, Yadav said: “The Saran hooch tragedy is a failure of the prohibition law and government should take responsibility for the deaths due to consumption of spurious liquor. The families of those who died in the hooch incident should get compensation because they are poor people and helpless. I raised the demand for compensation because we cannot become insensitive towards our people , who have lost their dear ones.”

He also said his party is supporting the government and continues to have its independent stand on issues.

The BJP, however, continued to protest during the Question Hour, prompting the speaker to adjourn the session. They later staged a walkout.

Leader of opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha also insisted on a compensation to the families. He alleged that police were involved in selling seized spirit to brewers of illicit liquor and were hands in glove with those selling illicit liquor.

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