At least 16 people have mysteriously died in the past two-three days at a village in Bihar’s West Champaran. Police have detained five people for questioning as angle of hooch tragedy is being probed. However, of these, family members of eight said that they had not consumed alcohol.
“We have been told that around eight people died mysteriously in the past 2-3 days. Their family members and villagers have not mentioned alcohol consumption. FIR has been lodged and the probe is underway," said district magistrate Kundan Kumar.
A report in Hindustan Times quoted Kumar as saying that causes of other deaths could not be known immediately as the last rites on the bodies had been performed. “We have deployed medical teams at Deurawa and Bagahi villages to facilitate treatment for anyone with any symptoms," he added.
Later, Lalan Mohan Prasad, deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Champaran range, said, “We took statements of about 40 people, including the family members of those who died, but all of them denied consumption of liquor. However, one of the two persons undergoing treatment confessed to having been served liquor."
“Two village chowkidars have also been suspended," said a press release issued by the district administration. Sale and consumption of liquor is banned in Bihar since April 2016.
The incident led to sharp reaction from opposition RJD, with Lalu Prasad Yadav taking a jibe at Nitish Kumar government and saying thousand are dying every year in Bihar from spurious liquor under “good governance".
“In Bihar, thousands of people are dying every year from spurious liquor under good governance. Under the garb of prohibition, ruling party people are running a parallel illegal economy of Rs 20,000 crores in Bihar. Lakhs of Dalits and poor are lodged in jails in the name of prohibition. Police have become corrupt and tyrannical," RJD supremo tweeted.