Nine persons died and 17 others lost their eyesight in Bihar’s Saran district after they consumed spurious liquor, IANS reported on Friday.

The sale and consumption of liquor has been banned in Bihar since April 2016. However, there have been instances of citizens dying and falling ill after drinking spurious liquor in the state.

Seven of those who died in the latest incident have been identified as Chandan Kumar, Kamal Mahto, Om Nath Mahto, Chandeshwar Mahto, Sakaldeep Mahto, Dhaniram Mahto and Rajnath Mahto. The names of the remaining two persons who died are not yet known.

The victims were residents of several villages under the jurisdictions of the Maker and Bheldi police stations. Most of them had reportedly purchased spurious liquor from the Dhanuka Toli village.

Eleven persons are currently undergoing treatment at the Sadar Hospital in Chhapra town, Navbharat Times reported. Several others have been admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital.

Saran Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar said that authorities were conducting raids in the areas under Maker, Marhaura and Bheldi police stations to trace the suspected bootleggers who made and distributed the spurious liquor, PTI reported.

“We will be able to state the number of arrests after the operation is over,” he said.

This was the second instance of spurious liquor-related deaths in Saran district this year. In January, five persons had died.

Last month, 42 persons died after drinking spurious liquor in Gujarat’s Botad district. Gujarat, like Bihar, has also banned the sale and consumption of alcohol.

Opposition parties in Gujarat have criticised the state government in the wake of the deaths, calling for strict implementation of the prohibition policy.