Bihar hooch tragedy: No compensation will be given to relatives of those who died, says Nitish Kumar
The chief minister said the deaths took place because of ‘a filthy habit’ before adding that those who drink liquor will die.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Friday that no compensation will be given to the relatives of those who died after drinking spurious liquor in the state’s Saran district, PTI reported.
“Those who drink and lose their lives as a result deserve no sympathy and no compensation will be given,” he said in the state Assembly amid a political furore.
His comments came as Saran District Magistrate Rajesh Meena told PTI that the toll from drinking illicitly brewed country liquor rose to 30 since Tuesday night. However, some unconfirmed reports claimed that up to 60 persons have died.
The sale and consumption of alcohol has been banned in Bihar since April 2016 under the Prohibition and Excise Act. However, in Saran district alone, nearly 50 persons have died in nine incidents this year due to illegally produced alcohol, popularly called hooch.
On Friday, Communist Party of India MLA Satyendra Yadav said in the Assembly that the government should consider giving monetary compensation to the bereaved family members.
“Please do not take such a stand,” Kumar said in response, according to PTI. “I have always looked upon the Left parties as my allies...If you people feel that prohibition is wrong then say so upfront. The law was introduced with the consent of all. If everyone thinks today we were in the wrong, we may withdraw it.”
He then said the deaths took place because of “a filthy habit” before uttering again that those who drink liquor will die. On Thursday too, while addressing media persons over the tragedy, the chief minister had said, “If someone consumes spurious liquor, they’ll die – an example is before us.”
A day earlier too, Kumar lost his cool against Opposition BJP MLAs and shouted at them saying they had become drunkards.
Meanwhile, leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, on Friday called the deaths in Saran “a mass murder by the government” and blamed the state administration.
“We [Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs] visited the affected areas in Saran on Thursday, the number of deaths is much higher than the figure that is being provided by the district administration,” he claimed.
The Saran district magistrate said that 126 traders involved in selling locally brewed country liquor have been caught. “We have also conducted intensive raids across the district in the last 48 hours and nabbed 126 hooch traders,” he added. “More than 4,000 litres of illicit liquor have also been seized.”