Poor Falsely Implicated in Gopalganj


CPIML Bihar State Secretary Kunal said on 6 March 2021 that the court sentencing poor people to death and life imprisonment in the Gopalganj Khajurbani poisonous liquor case is a cruel joke against the poor while the true criminals are being protected. It is well known that illicit liquor business in Bihar is flourishing under the politician-administration-liquor mafia nexus, but the government and judiciary are waging war against the poor under pretext of the prohibition law. The death sentence for 10 persons and life imprisonment for 4 women is an extremely inhuman verdict and one the court should reconsider. CPIML opposes this verdict.

He further said that a CPIML enquiry team had visited Khajurbani on 18 August 2016 and found that the incident was the result of the unholy politician-administration-liquor mafia nexus. Our party demanded the removal of the then DM and SP, high level judicial enquiry into political-administrative protection of liquor production and trafficking, and alternative livelihoods and reformatory arrangements for prohibition-affected people. However, the government has not done any of this and as a result poisonous liquor tragedies with many deaths were once again repeated recently in Gopalganj and Muzaffarpur. Protection for the real criminals and punishment for the poor--this is Nitish Kumar's so-called 'sushasan' (good governance).

The Nitish government's draconian prohibition law and the irresponsible behaviour of the District administration and Sadar Hospital are directly responsible for the large scale poisonous liquor deaths in Gopalganj. For a long time the administration continued to deny the deaths due to poisonous liquor. Moreover, the Civil Surgeon at Sadar Hospital kept saying, "All of you will get implicated, all will be punished" and thus he only referred patients from the hospital. This was the reason why the death toll climbed to 19. Further, many people refrained from going to hospital out of fear of the draconian prohibition law, and thus the death toll is actually much higher.

CPIML had provided concrete facts of liquor sale in Khajurbani at a district level peace committee meeting called by the administration and demanded an end to it but the administration refused to take heed and denied the facts. While liquor production in Khajurbani is common knowledge, how is the administration alone unaware of it? If the administration had taken timely steps this horrific tragedy could have been avoided. The dead persons include Dinanath Manjhi, Parma Mahto, Mantu Giri, Umesh Chauhan, Shashikant Sharma, Ramji Sharma, Sovrati Miyan, Anil Ram, Raju Ram, Durgesh Ram, Vinod Singh, Dinesh Mahto, Bandhu Ram, Dharmendra Mahto, Premchand Singh, Manoj Sah and Bhuteli Sharma. We demand the immediate removal of the DM and SP for this sheer negligence.

The Nitish government first flooded the entire Bihar with liquor and is now trying for political mileage in the name of prohibition, whereas alternative livelihood arrangements should have been made for the communities who lost their traditional livelihoods due to prohibition.

The Gopalganj tragedy also indicates that sale of liquor cannot be done without political-administrative patronage. On the one hand the government is propagating prohibition, while on the other hand the politician-administration-liquor mafia is busy with liquor production and smuggling. Open liquor smuggling is going on in Districts neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and this is very much in the knowledge of the government and the administration. Therefore instead of politics in the name of prohibition, liquor factories in Bihar should be immediately closed and smuggling should be stopped. Consuming alcohol is not a criminal act but a social evil. The draconian prohibition law passed by the government is not justifiable in any way and should be repealed at once. Reformatory measures should be encouraged in order to overcome alcoholism.