Hooch tragedy: Eight more die in two other Bihar districts
Close on the heels of the hooch tragedy in dry Bihar that left 30 people dead in Saran district, eight more died allegedly after consuming some spurious liquor in two other districts, officials said on Saturday.
Six people died in Siwan district adjoining Saran, while Begusarai witnessed two other deaths.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that up to 60 people died by drinking illicitly brewed country liquor in Saran district. Even the official toll of 30 there is the biggest since Bihar went dry more than six years ago.
About the six deaths in Bhagwanpur division of Siwan district since Thursday, Sub-Divisional Magistrate Sanjay Kumar said the administration has initiated an investigation.
"We are also carrying searches in the area to nab those who indulge in the sale and purchase of liquor," Kumar said.
On the Begusari incident, Deputy Superintendent of Police Chandramohan Prasad told reporters that two youths died after consuming "some poisonous chemical" in Teghra division on Friday.
"We have sent bodies for post-mortem examination. Investigations are on," he said.
The sale and consumption of alcohol were banned in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government in April 2016. However, the smuggling of liquor continues unabated in the state, notwithstanding the ongoing drive against bootleggers.
The police on early Saturday recovered several cartons of liquor from a truck in Sadar police station area in Muzaffarpur district. The cartons were hidden below wooden planks.
In Siwan, the district which shares its border with Saran, four people died in Brahmsthan village on Friday and another person died in Sondhani village on Thursday. One more person, a resident of Saran district, also died in Siwan on Friday.
Leader of Opposition in the Bihar assembly, Vijay Kumar Sinha, who had visited the affected Mashrak block in Saran on Thursday, claimed inside the Assembly on Friday that the hooch tragedy has "claimed more than 100 lives".
Saran District Magistrate Rajesh Meena said that the deaths were "caused by suspected consumption of spurious liquor" which would be confirmed after the viscera of the deceased are examined at forensic labs.
The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the Bihar government and the state's police chief over the Saran hooch tragedy on Friday.