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'Peeyoge toh maroge' - Nitish kumar criticism over hooch deaths in Bihar

Amid uproar over another hooch tragedy in Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday urged people to not consume liquor in a dry state because “something spurious will be sold”. Kumar told reporters said he has directed police officials to not arrest poor people who are caught consuming spurious liquor and rather go after those manufacturing liquor and involved in illegal alcohol business. (Also Read | Union minister's ‘mentally unfit’ remark on Nitish after Bihar CM loses cool)

“Sachet rehna chahiye. Yahan toh sharabbandi hai, kuch gadbad toh bechega hai…toh logon ki maut ho jaati hai..isko yaad rakhna chahiye ki sharab nahi peena chahiye” (People should be alert. As there is a liquor ban here, something spurious will be sold due to which people die. They should keep in mind not to consume liquor)," the Janata Dal (United) leader said.

At least 21 people have died in Saran district after allegedly consuming spurious liquor and the toll is likely to increase as the condition of several others is said to be critical, according to officials. The hooch tragedy triggered a major slugfest in the state assembly where the ruling ‘Mahagathbandhan’ led by Nitish Kumar and opposition BJP traded charges.

While repeatedly warning the people of Bihar against consumption of liquor, Kumar said someone last time called for

On the demands for ex gratia amount for the kin of the deceased, Kumar said people will die if they consume liquor in the state.

“Pichhli baar yaad hai na, zehrili sharab se marr gaya toh koi kaha ki inko milna chahiye sharab piyega wo toh marega hi, yeh toh udaharan hi saamne peeyoge toh maroge...yahi toh baat hai (Remember the last time when people died due to spurious liquor, someone said they should be compensated. If someone consumes liquor, they will die - example is before us. That's the thing),” he added.

BJP's IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya hit out at Kumar saying only an insensitive chief minister can give such a statement.

"This will increase the self-confidence of the liquor mafia. So far 39 people have died. Some are so poor that they burning the dead bodies by collecting donation, many are performing the last rites with the wood kept for use during the winter. But the narcissistic Nitish is worried about the success of prohibition," he said in a tweet in Hindi.

Union minister Giriraj Singh told reporters outside Parliament that Nitish Kumar should convene an all-party meeting on the issue and take a decision accordingly. BJP MP from Saran, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, said: “We have seen tourism in India and the world but not death tourism, which began in my area yesterday (Tuesday). I have been only counting the number of people dying.”

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