The toll from spurious liquor consumption in Bihar increased to 32 on Saturday, ANI reported. Fifteen people have died in West Champaran district’s Bettiah town, 13 in Gopalganj district and four in Samastipur district.
The Bihar Police conducted raids in 60 locations in Gopalganj district and 19 people have been arrested so far in connection with the case.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party has criticised its ally, the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal, for the deaths from consumption of spurious liquor, ANI reported. At a press conference on Saturday, state BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal said that illicit liquor cannot be sold without the knowledge of police.
“Wherever the police are active, there is sale of illicit liquor,” he said. “Especially in East Champaran, the sale of illicit alcohol can not happen without the collusion of police.”
Jaiswal called for a review of prohibition policy in the state and urged the government to scrutinise the administration’s role in the deaths of 32 people because of spurious liquor.
The prohibition policy was launched by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2016, NDTV reported. He had argued that money spent on liquor should be spent on family welfare.
“The law is strict and has been made with tough rules, but the circumstances show that people are not as aware,” Jaiswal said on Saturday, according to ANI. “The government’s primary work will be to stop the mafia gangs in villages as the police have meagre control.”
Despite the ban on sale or consumption of alcohol in Bihar, eight people had died in October after consumption of spurious liquor in Muzaffarpur.
In Gopalganj, this is the second such major illicit liquor tragedy. In 2016, the number of residents who died after consuming spurious liquor was 21.