After Gopalganj and West Champaran, four people died in Samastipur district in Bihar late on Friday, November 5, 2021, due to suspected consumption of spurious liquor.
Officials said that four people died in Rupauli Panchayat in Patori block of Samastipur district and the cause of their deaths could be known only after the post-mortem reports.
Five have been admitted to different hospitals in serious condition.
However, local villagers said the victims had consumed spurious liquor a day after Diwali and their condition deteriorated on Friday evening.
“Four of them died, while five others are admitted in different hospitals”, said one of them, not wishing to reveal their identity.
Among those dead are Shyam Nandan Chaudhury, Birendra Rai, Mohan Kumar and Vinay Singh. Mohan Kumar, 27, was in the armed forces, while Vinay Singh, 54, was said to working in the Border Security Force (BSF).
Those admitted in hospital in serious condition are Abhilakh Rai, Benga Rai, Suman Kumar, Deepak Kumar and Kundan Kumar.
“They are also said to have attended a function in the village, after which they fell ill”, said a villager.
“It is only after the post-mortem reports come that the cause of their death can be ascertained”, senior police officer Om Prakash Arun told reporters.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Gopalganj hooch tragedy has gone up to 13, while in West Champaran 16 deaths have been confirmed by local officials. Five-six others are still at a government hospital in Bettiah town, district headquarters of West Champaran.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday said he would review the deaths on November 16, after the four-day Chhath (sun god) festival. He also asked officials to monitor the prohibition laws in the State every alternate day.
Earlier, after Holi, as many as 16 people died in West Champaran in July.
“During festivals like Holi, Diwali and Chhath, migrant labourers come to their native places in Bihar in large numbers. They might be indulging in booze with their saved money and become victims of spurious liquor”, said social activist Mahendra Yadav, adding, “Look at those who are dying, all come from poor families and the extremely backward classes”.
“This is extremely sad and must be condemnable”, he noted.
“The social profile of those who died due to spurious liquor in dry Bihar must be brought out by some organisations to wake up the government headed by Nitish Kumar,” senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari told The Hindu.
Sanjay Agrawal, president of the State BJP and partner in the ruling alliance, said, “Prohibition in the State has failed and there is need to review prohibition with all its success and failure after over five years.” While addressing the media at party headquarters in Patna, Mr. Agrawal also added, “Police at local level have nexus with liquor mafias and people are getting liquor easily.”
He said, “Incidents of hooch tragedy are happening only in those districts where police are more vigilant and tough and do not have any truck with liquor mafias. So people use to drink spurious liquor and losing their lives.”