At least 20 people have died in the last 24 hours after allegedly consuming spurious liquor in Motihari district between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, the police said.
According to reports, the deaths were reported in Lakshmipur village of Turkoulia police station, followed by Harsiddhi, Paharpur and Sugauli areas. "It is a sad incident. I have asked for all information on it," Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said after the tragedy.
According to a report by NDTV, a tank carrying spurious liquor was brought to Motihari and distributed among local traders, leading to the tragedy.
Hooch tragedy deaths
Earlier in December 2022, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) blamed the authorities in Bihar for “suppressing the death toll” in the hooch tragedy in Saran and Siwan districts, stating that at least 77 people had died in the incident as against the government’s figure of 42 deaths.
A political slugfest also emerged in the state assembly over the deaths with Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav alleging that the NHRC visit was "propaganda" by the BJP-led Centre to defame the state government.
Bihar's Excise Act completely prohibits the manufacturing, bottling, distribution, transportation, collection, storage, sale, possession, or purchase of any intoxicant liquor ever since it was banned by the state government in 2016.
Nitish-led ruling JD(U) had continued to insist that the government cannot compensate people indulged in crime. Prohibition Minister Sunil Kumar had said, "Neither the IPC nor the CrPC provides for compensation to a person accused of a crime. Consuming any type of liquor is illegal under the prohibition law in Bihar."
Nitish has also attracted criticism for his conduct in the Bihar assembly and his public remarks in which he said it's natural to die if you'd drink alcohol.
(With inputs from PTI)