Patna: The death toll in Chhapra Hooch tragedy in Bihar has now risen to 65. A rapid surge in the death toll of victims dying after drinking spurious liquor is seen after the incident took place on Wednesday.
Amid the deaths, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday warned that if people drink spurious liquor, they will die. On Friday the CM issued a fresh statement saying no compensation will be given if a person dies after consuming spurious liquor.
Kumar criticised for insensitive remark
The chief minister's remark comes amid severe criticism from the Opposition, led by the BJP, in the wake of the rising hooch deaths in the Chhapra district.
"No compensation will be provided to people who die after consuming spurious liquor. We have been appealing to you not to drink. If you drink, you will die. Those who speak against prohibition will not bring any good to the people," the Bihar CM said in the Assembly on Friday.
On Thursday, the chief minister told mediapersons, who had mobbed for comments on the rising hooch toll in Chhapra, said, "Those consuming spurious liquor will die." The CM has been fighting a firestorm of protests and Opposition attacks over his alleged failed liquor prohibition policy.
Ruckus in Rajya Sabha
Defending the liquor ban in Bihar, he had earlier said the state's prohibition policy has seen many giving up drinking in the state.
Masrakh Station House Officer (SHO) Ritesh Mishra and constable Vikesh Tiwari were suspended immediately after the hooch deaths were reported first on Tuesday night.
The suspensions were effected on the recommendation of Marhaura Sub-Divisional Police Officer Yogendra Kumar.
Most deaths reportedly took place over Wednesday and Thursday, evoking an uproar both inside and outside the Bihar Assembly.
The Opposition, led by the BJP, took on the ruling JD(U)-RJD combine over the rising hooch deaths despite a ban on the sale and consumption of liquor in the state, which has been in effect since April 2016.
A former ally in the previous Nitish Kumar-led government, the BJP has been leading the offensive on the current regime in the wake of the liquor deaths.
On Thursday, BJP MPOs from Bihar raised a ruckus in the Rajya Sabha over the rising hooch toll in the state.
The CM's remark that those consuming spurious liquor will die, reportedly did not go down well with the kin of the hooch victims and others.
"The liquor ban has benefitted several people. A large number of people have given up alcohol, which is good. Several people have happily accepted and embraced our prohibition policy. But there are some troublemakers. I have told officers to identify these troublemakers and apprehend them," Kumar told mediapersons in Patna.
The Chhapra hooch deaths was one the issues which forced one of three adjournments in the Upper House of the Parliament on Thursday.
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