Four people died reportedly after consuming spurious liquor in Karakat, in Bihar’s Rohtas district, on Friday. Eight police officials have been suspended, even as opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal on Saturday alleged that illegal liquor trade is “flourishing in the state at the cost of the poor”. Although the local police are yet to confirm the cause of death since the post-mortem report is due, they said prima facie, investigation suggests death due to consumption of spurious liquor. According to their families, the four victims started complaining of stomach pain, vomiting and had blurred vision from Thursday night, but they were not taken to hospital for fear of the police — Bihar had imposed prohibition in April 2016, and hundreds of people have been arrested since.
Two others who had reportedly consumed liquor with the deceased on Thursday evening are being treated at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH). The deceased have been identified as Krishna Singh, Harihar Singh, Uday Singh and Dhangi Singh — all farmers, in their early-30s, and residents of Dhanwar village, under Karakat police station of Rohtas. According to the police, they consumed spurious liquor, sold by locals clandestinely, on Thursday evening. Krishna Singh died on Friday morning. By Friday evening, the other three also died.
Two other villagers, another person named Krishna Singh and one Ravi Singh, were referred to PMCH. Krishna’s wife Bunty Singh said her husband and others had consumed liquor on Thursday and said that liquor is easily available in the area despite a statewide ban.
Bihar’s Additional Director General of Police (Headquarters) S K Singhal told reporters in Patna, “There is confirmation of four deaths. While one person was cremated, bodies of three persons had been sent for postmortem.”
Rohtas Superintendent of Police M S Dhillon said, “We suspended eight police officers of Kachhwa police outpost and sent seven constables to police lines for dereliction of duty. Prima facie investigation suggests the four could have drunk liquor but we are waiting for post-mortem report.” Rohtas district administration has recommended suspension of Bikramganj excise inspector Rajkishore Singh.
In Patna, Leader of Opposition in Assembly Tejashwi Yadav of the RJD said, “What has happened in Rohtas is not the first incident of its kind since complete prohibition was announced in Bihar. We (RJD) were then a coalition partner in the government and had supported Nitish Kumar’s move. But as things have turned out, prohibition seems to have been implemented only on paper.”
On September 7, two policemen posted at Karakat policemen had died under mysterious circumstances. Although sources said the two had consumed liquor, post-mortem was not conducted.