New Delhi [India], December 15 (ANI): Terming the Bihar hooch tragedy "shameful", Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on Thursday demanded an apology from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over the incident.
The Union Minister further claimed that the administration tried to hide the number of deaths and pass it off as a result of some disease
"Over 40 died. Initially, the administration tried to hide the number of deaths and pass it off as a result of some disease. When people got angry and BJP workers charged the government, they accepted it. It is shameful. Nitish Kumar should apologize to the people of Bihar," said Rai.
Earlier, several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs also protested outside the state assembly today over the hooch tragedy.
Bihar Chief Minister entered the State Assembly in Patna through a gathering of BJP MLAs protesting the Chapra hooch tragedy.
The protesters were holding banners and raising slogans against the government.
Kumar had earlier told media persons waiting for his reaction on the 39 deaths so far in the Chhapra hooch tragedy that if "someone consumes spurious liquor, they will die" as he came under heavy pressure on his alleged failed excise policy.
Defending the liquor ban in Bihar, he said that the state's prohibition policy has benefitted several people and a large number of people have given up drinking alcohol due to his measures.
"The liquor ban has benefited several people. A large number of people have given up alcohol...This is good. Several people have happily accepted this. But there are some troublemakers. I have told officers to identify the actual troublemakers and nab them," Kumar told the media in Patna.
"I have told officers that they shouldn't catch the poor. People manufacturing liquor and carrying on liquor trade should be caught," Kumar said.
The chief minister also said: "I am ready to give Rs 1 lakh each to people to start their own work. We'll raise the amount if needed, but nobody should get involved in the liquor business."
"Last time, when people died due to spurious liquor, someone said they should be compensated. If someone consumes spurious liquor, they'll die - an example is before us. This should be condoled, those places should be visited and people should be explained about the fallout of their action," Nitish Kumar said.
After the first death late Tuesday in a Chhapra hospital, the toll reached 39 on Thursday.
In its wake, Masrakh Station House Officer (SHO) Ritesh Mishra and Constable Vikesh Tiwari were suspended on the recommendation of Marhaura Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Yogendra Kumar. (ANI)