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16 people dead and over 48 hospitalised after drinking spurious alcohol in India’s Bihar state

In Bihar, India, at least 16 people have died and over 48 have been hospitalised after consuming spurious alcohol, despite a ban on alcohol in the state since 2016. Most of the hospitalised victims are in critical condition, and the death toll is expected to rise. The tragedy occurred in various villages, including Lakshmipur, Paharpur, and Harsiddhi, which all fall under Motihari district, located approximately 150 kilometres northwest of the state capital, Patna. The incident was first reported on Friday evening in Lakshmipur, where 12 others were also hospitalised with serious health issues.

To investigate the matter, a special team consisting of five police officers, two Deputy Superintendents of Police, and three inspectors from the Prohibition Unit in Patna have been dispatched to Motihari. As part of the investigation, seven persons have been detained by the police, according to a statement by the Bihar police headquarters. The police have identified four deceased individuals as Tuntun Singh (35), Bhutan Manjhi (40), Chotu Paswan (25), and Ashok Paswan (45).

The Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has responded to the incident, stating that it is a sad occurrence and that he has requested all relevant information about it. In 2016, Bihar became India’s second dry state after Gujarat, where Mahatma Gandhi’s hometown Porbandar is located. The Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act was enacted that year after massive protests by women and social activists calling for a ban on all types of alcohol in the state.

Despite the ban, cases of illicit liquor consumption in Bihar have been on the rise, with opposition parties urging Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to ease the liquor rule. Kumar, who had propelled to electoral victory in 2015 by promising to ban alcohol in the state, has remained steadfast in his resolve. It is believed that women’s votes were the deciding factor for his JD(U) party’s victory in the state polls, as women had pressed Kumar to enact the ban.


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