Bihar hooch deaths: NHRC issues notice to state govt, seeks detailed report
As of now, 31 people from East Champaran have reportedly died in the hooch tragedy. The unofficial toll, meanwhile, is said to be 37
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Bihar government and the director general of police and asked for a report within six weeks over the recent deaths from the consumption of spurious liquor in several districts.
“The report should include the status of the FIR registered by the police, medical treatment of the victims who are hospitalised, and compensation, if any, granted to the aggrieved families. The Commission would also like to know about the action taken against the delinquent officers responsible for the tragedy,” the NHRC said in its statement issued on Wednesday night.
The Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report on the matter dated April 16, even as the death toll continues to rise. As of now, 31 people from East Champaran have reportedly died in the hooch tragedy. The unofficial toll, meanwhile, is said to be 37.
“The contents of the media report, if true, indicate that the state government, prima-facie, is not attentive enough in the implementation of its policy of prohibition of sale and consumption of illicit/spurious liquor, implemented in Bihar since April 2016. The unabated...incidents of liquor tragedy of this magnitude...is a serious issue causing the violation of rights to life of vulnerable people,” the release said.
It may be recalled that in December 2022, several deaths were reported in a hooch tragedy in Bihar, and the Commission sent its own team for an on-the-spot investigation into the matter after taking suo motu cognizance of media reports. That case is already under consideration by the Commission.
NHRC, in its report submitted to the Centre in March, observed that the hooch tragedy in Saran (December 13-16 last year) claimed at least 77 lives, which was allegedly higher than the government’s figures of 42.
The report said that nearly 80% of the deceased were in the productive working age of 21-60 years and 75% belonged to the Scheduled Caste and OBC.
The report termed it as “a flagrant violation of human rights due to abject failure of public servants, warranting immediate and urgent steps to protect the lives of the poor gullible people by preventing them from consuming illicit and spurious liquor”.