Chhapra hooch tragedy: Five instances when illicit liquor menace claimed lives in 'dry' Bihar

Chhapra hooch tragedy: Five instances when illicit liquor menace claimed lives in 'dry' Bihar

The frequent deaths of people after drinking illicit liquor in Bihar have put a question mark on whether the ban has really worked.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, December 16, 2022, 10:33 PM IST
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The Chhapra hooch tragedy in Bihar has shook people across the country. As the death toll due to the illicit liquor rose to 65, questions have been raised by the opposition over efficacy of the liquor prohibition policy in the state. CM Nitish Kumar, who has taken a lot of pride in this his flagship policy, had imposed the liquor ban in the state in April 2016, drawing its inspiration from Article 47 of the Indian Constitution, which directs the state to endeavour to prohibit the consumption of intoxicating drinks and drugs that are injurious to health.

However, the frequent deaths of people after drinking illicit liquor in Bihar have put a question mark on whether the ban has really worked.

Here are five instances when illicit liquor claimed lives in dry Bihar:

1) Nalanda (January 15,2022):

At least 13 people died in January this year in CM Nitish Kumar's home district of Nalanda after drinking hooch. According to Nalanda police, some residents of the Chhoti Pahari area of Sohasrai, 75 km from Patna had consumed illicit liquor.

A complaint was filed regarding the incident by the relatives of a person killed in the tragedy, saying that the illicit liquor of Hooch is being sold in their village and was locally available. 

2) Buxar (January 27, 2022):

At least five people succumbed to death and three others fell critically ill after consuming spurious liquor in Amsari village of Dumraon in Buxar district in January this year. The victims had consumed liquor together from a villager on January 26 night, the family members had said, adding that "at midnight their condition deteriorated and five of them died while three others were admitted to a hospital”.

3) Saran (August 5, 2022):

At least nine people died, while 17 lost their eyesight after drinking hooch in Bihar's Saran district in August this year. The victims had purchased the spurious liquor from Dhanuka Toli village. They consumed the liquor at different places and their health deteriorated after that.

4) Vaishali (November 21, 2022):

Driver of a truck which killed 8 in Vaishali in Bihar in November this year had said that he was intoxicated with hooch. While speaking to ANI, the Driver of the truck, Lalu Kumar, said, "We had country-made liquor at a stop we took at Jadua for Rs 40 per pack. The accident occurred when I attempted to overtake another truck."

5) Siwan (December 16, 2022)

As the death toll in Chhapra hooch tragedy continued to rise, at least 5 people died after allegedly consuming spurious liquor on Friday in the adjoining Siwan district in the state.

All five deceased are residents of Brahsthan and Sondhani villages of Bhagwanpur Police Station area. According to sources, the death toll is expected to rise. Angry family members of the deceased obstructed the Siwan-Chapra Malmalia main road and undertook a protest. The distance between Siwan and Chhapra is around 10 kilometers. 

Meanwhile, in the Begusarai district, administration swung into action after one person reportedly died allegedly after consuming liquor. 

Patna High Court had slammed Bihar govt on failure of the policy

In October, the Patna High Court has said that the lives of the people of Bihar have come under risk because of the state government's failure to effectively implement its much-touted prohibition law. The remark came from the single judge bench of Justice Purnendu Singh, who also enumerated the "adverse consequences" of the government's "laxity" like a spurt in hooch tragedies, drug addiction, and environmental hazards posed by improper destruction of seized bottles.

Hooch tragedy in Gujarat

While Bihar suffers from the menace of illicit liquor, another dry state in the western part of the country saw a similar tragedy like Chhapra in July this year. In Gujarat's Botad district, over 40 people had died after consuming spurious liquor.

Out of the deceased, 31 belonged to different villages in Botad and nine were natives of neighbouring Dhandhuka taluka in Ahmedabad district, the official of Botad police control room had said.

Gujarat is the only Indian state with a death penalty for producing and selling homemade liquor, ultimately leading to fatalities. The legislation is known as the Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Act, 2009. However, this hasn’t completely stopped the consumption and sale of alcohol from the state.

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