2 Dead, 3 Lose Eyesight In Suspected Hooch Tragedy In Bihar’s Muzaffarpur

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In a rerun of the Motihari hooch tragedy, two people died while 3 others lost their eyesight after consuming spurious liquor in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar.

Motihari Rerun: 2 Dead, 3 Lose Eyesight In Suspected Hooch Tragedy In Bihar's Muzaffarpur
Police personnel during the investigation into the death of two people due to the consumption of spurious liquor, in Muzaffarpur on Sunday. (ANI Photo)

Muzaffarpur, Bihar:  At least two people died while three others lost their eyesight after reportedly consuming spurious liquor in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar on Sunday, bringing back the horrifying memories of a similar incident in Motihari district of the state earlier this year which left 34 people dead and dozens others without eyesight.

A senior police official said the incident was reported from Qazi Mohammadpur police station area and the wife and daughter of the alleged supplier, who is on the run, have been taken into custody.

“We received information that in the Pokharia Pir Mohalla, Umesh Shah (55) and Pappu Ram have died. Their family members said they returned home drunk three days ago, took ill and their condition continued to worsen despite medical treatment,” Additional SP Awadhesh Dixit told news agency PTI.

“Three other others, with two of them identified as Dharmendra Ram and Raju Ram, both residents of the same locality, reported loss of eyesight. Dharmendra Ram told the police that they had purchased liquor from Shivchandra Paswan, whose family is involved in the illegal business,” said the ASP.

According to a statement issued by the district police headquarters, bodies of the deceased have been sent for post-mortem examination while a team of forensic experts is scanning the area for clues.

The survivors, who lost their eyesight, told reporters that they used to frequently visit the hideout of Paswan, situated close to a local ice factory, for their quota of toddy.

On the fateful day, they were told by Paswan that toddy was not available and offered a concoction promising it would give them a high.

Meanwhile, the ASP said a search was on for Paswan, who has been jailed in the past for flouting the prohibition law, adding that Paswan’s wife and daughter are being interrogated by police.

The incident bears eerie similarities to the infamous Motihari hooch tragedy which claimed the lives of 34 people and left other victims without eyesight in April earlier this year,

Motihari SP Kantesh Kumar Mishra suspended five station house officers (SHOs), 2 Anti-Liquor Task Force (ALTF) personnel, and 9 police watchmen (chowkidars) in the wake of the suspected hooch deaths.

Speaking on the deaths, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the kin of the deceased, provided they give a written undertaking to abide by the state’s prohibition policy.

“The deaths are unfortunate. We’ll provide Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the deceased from the CM Relief Fund. However, they should also give us an undertaking in writing that they are in favour of the liquor ban currently in force in the state and that they are against liquor addiction,” the Bihar CM said.

Notably, the Nitish Kumar government imposed a complete ban on the sale and consumption of liquor in Bihar in 2016.

The ban extends to toddy, mahua and other forms of locally made intoxicants.

(With inputs from agencies)

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