Deaths from Toxic Hooch a Grim Problem

CPIML Bihar State Secretary Kunal said in a statement on 19 February that the repeated occurrence of deaths due to consumption of toxic hooch contrary to claims by the Bihar government is a matter of grave concern. After such repeated deaths in Vijayipur in Gopalganj the area is in the grip of an atmosphere of terror, but the District administration is busy trying to hush up the truth. The DM has stated that the workers have died due to natural causes rather than from consuming toxic hooch. This statement is entirely wrong, and so it is our demand that the Vijayipur toxic hooch episode should be probed by a high level judicial committee. A CPIML legislative team will shortly visit the spot and bring to light the facts of the matter.

Comrade Kunal also said that Bihar's Prohibition Minister Sunil Kumar is the MLA from this same area, but he has not even visited the spot of the tragedy yet. If this is the condition in his home constituency, one can imagine the situation in the rest of the State. It is shameful that he is silent on the attempts by the administration to hush up the truth. It appears as though this entire toxic hooch business is being run in cahoots with the administration.

CPIML District Secretary Indrajit Chaurasiya met and spoke with the villagers on 19 Feruary and ascertained the facts, after which he said that these deaths are indeed the result of consuming toxic hooch. According to his report, workers working at the Narsingh brick kiln in Majhwalia along with some other people went to the neighbouring village Mathia and consumed the alcohol which was toxic hooch. Mangu Oraon (45 years), Budhwa Panna and Karma Panna died during treatment. The families of the dead workers have also acknowledged that their deaths were due to consumption of toxic hooch. All the deceased workers are from Gumla District in Jharkhand. The District administration sent the bodies home after post-mortem and denied the possibility of toxic hooch.

Meanwhile Ramawadh Yadav and Kashi Yadav (father and son) both also died in the same incident. The local administration has washed its hands of all responsibility by saying that their deaths were due to natural causes. This is highly suspicious. One member of the family is a chowkidar, and the administration has told him that if the hooch issue is raised he will lose his job. This is the reason people are refraining from making statements in the matter. Currently Tilakdhari Yadav and Ramdhani Goud are seriously ill and undergoing treatment at the Gopalganj hospital. The administration is busy trying to whitewash the entire episode.

Poisonous Liquor Tragedy in Katra (Muzaffarpur)

4 persons died within a period of 48 hours from consuming poisonous liquor in Katra in Muzaffarpur District. Aurai Mahagathbandhan-CPIML former candidate Aftab Alam visited Katra Thana Dargah Tola on 21 February to ascertain the facts of the matter. He reported that the incident occurred just 1 km from the Thana. The deceased persons are:
1. Ajay Manjhi (25 years)
2. Ram Chandra Manjhi (60 years)
3. Manju Devi (50 years)
4. Vinod Manjhi (30 years)

Deceased Ajay Manjhi has an 8 year old son.

The report released by Aftab Alam says that the liquor business is being conducted on a large scale in Katra Block. If the administration had been serious this incident would not have occurred. CPIML has been consistently raising its voice against the liquor mafia. 2 years ago Ashok Ram died due to a similar toxic hooch tragedy. Aftab Alam demanded that the Katra Thana in-charge and SSP should be removed, otherwise such incidents will keep recurring. He pointed out that the State Land and Revenue Minister Ram Surat Rai is the MLA from this area, but he has not even visited the tragedy spot yet.