After allegedly ingesting fake alcohol, at least 21 people have died in the Saran area, and the death toll is expected to rise since others are reportedly in serious condition.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar warned people on Thursday not to drink alcohol in a dry state because “something bogus will be sold” amid outrage over another hooch catastrophe in Bihar. According to Kumar, who spoke to the media, he has ordered police officers to target individuals who manufacture alcohol and are engaged in illegal alcohol business rather than arresting the impoverished people who are caught consuming fake alcohol.
“Sachet rehna chahiye. Yahan toh sharabbandi hai, kuch gadbad toh bechega hai…toh logon ki maut ho jaati hai..isko yaad rakhna chahiye ki sharab nahi peena chahiye” (People need to be on alert. Due to the prohibition on alcohol in this area, fake alcohol will be peddled, which will result in fatalities. They should remember not to drink alcohol),” the leader of Janata Dal (United) stated.
According to officials, at least 21 people have died in the Saran district after allegedly ingesting fake alcohol. The death toll is expected to rise because several other people’s conditions are critical. In addition, the hooch tragedy sparked a significant altercation between the opposition BJP and the ruling “Mahagathbandhan,” Nitish Kumar led in the state assembly.
Regarding the requests for an ex gratia payment to the deceased’s surviving relatives, Kumar asserted that alcohol consumption in the state would result in fatalities.
“Pichhli baar yaad hai na, zehrili sharab se marr gaya toh koi kaha ki inko milna chahiye compensation..jo sharab piyega wo toh marega hi, yeh toh udaharan hi saamne hai..ki peeyoge toh maroge…yahi toh baat hai )(Remember how someone demanded compensation the previous time someone died from drinking fake alcohol. A person will die if they drink alcohol; the example is right in front of us. That’s the issue),” he continued.
The BJP’s IT cell supervisor Amit Malviya criticised Kumar, claiming that only a callous chief minister could make such a remark.
“This will increase the self-confidence of the liquor mafia. So far, 39 people have died. Some are so poor that they burn dead bodies by collecting donations; many perform the last rites with the wood kept for use during the winter. But the narcissistic Nitish is worried about the success of prohibition,” He stated in a tweet in Hindi.
ये बयान एक संवेदनहीन मुख्यमंत्री ही दे सकता है। इससे शराब माफियाओं का आत्मबल बढ़ेगा। अब तक 39 लोग मर चुके हैं। कुछ इतने ग़रीब की चंदा मांगकर शव जला रहे हैं, कई ठंड में आग जलाने के लिए रखी लकड़ी से अंतिम संस्कार कर रहे हैं। पर आत्ममुग्ध नीतीश को शराबबंदी की सफलता की चिंता है। pic.twitter.com/PEyLS4ChGW
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) December 15, 2022
Outside of Parliament, Union Minister Giriraj Singh advised Nitish Kumar to call an all-party conference to discuss the matter and make a decision. BJP MP from Saran, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, said: “We have seen tourism in India and the world but not death tourism, which began in my area yesterday (Tuesday). So I have been only counting the number of people dying.”