Five persons die after consuming suspected hooch in Bhagalpur
At least five persons died while a few others were battling for their lives after consuming suspected hooch in Bhagalpur in Bihar on Sunday.
A person lost his eyesight after consuming spurious liquor in the incident that took place around 220km east of the state capital.
It comes close on the heels of a similar cases in Vaikunthpur police station area in Gopalganj district on Saturday in which five people lost their lives.
It is suspected that the hooch victims in Bhagalpur had consumed liquor at a marriage party in the city on Friday evening. Many of them fell ill and were admitted to hospitals on Saturday. Their condition deteriorated and five of them died.
All the victims hail from villages in two blocks — Goradih and Sabour — close to the city and are in the age group of 25 to 40 years. One of the deceased used to work as a driver in Bihar police.
As information about the incident spread, family members of the deceased cremated the bodies to escape the draconian prohibition law and alleged harassment at the hands of the police. “We have sent the sub-divisional officer (SDO) and sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) to the villages of the deceased to probe the matter after getting information about the deaths.
“Their family members are not telling anything about the reasons behind the deaths,” Bhagalpur district magistrate Subrat Kumar Sen told The Telegraph.
“One person is undergoing treatment at Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College and Hospital, but he is also unable to tell anything. We will be able to say anything with certainty only after the SDO and the SDPO complete their probe,” Sen added.
Indicating that the police and the administration were trying to brush the hooch deaths in Gopalganj under the carpet, prohibition and excise minister Sunil Kumar told reporters that a proper probe would be conducted into the incident.
“The deaths in Gopalganj will be properly investigated and action will be taken against the culprits. The police there are investigating the incident. We will send a team from Patna to conduct a probe,” Kumar said.
Bihar had imposed prohibition in April 2016 but the trade and consumption of liquor went underground and the mafia took deep roots, controlling the supply and distribution of alcoholic beverages, allegedly in nexus with the enforcement agencies and patronage of politicians.
The state is grappling with hooch incidents since liquor was banned. Such incidents have increased over the last few months. At least 160 persons have lost their lives in a series of hooch incidents since January 2021. Of these, 50 deaths were recorded this year.