Mystery deaths in Bihar turn controversial

BJP leader says deaths caused by illicit liquor; accuses Nitish Kumar of keeping matter under wraps

By Alok Gupta
Published: Thursday 28 November 2013

While doctors are yet to arrive at a conclusion about the mysterious deaths of 13 people at Sugauli panchayat in East Champaran district earlier this week, it has become a hot political matter.

Former deputy chief minister of Bihar and senior BJP leader, Sushil Modi, visited families of the deceased people on Wednesday evening and claimed that deaths were a result of illicit liquor. Modi alleged the state government is hiding the truth.

“We are confident that these deaths are result of illicit hooch,” Modi said.

Deaths occurred on eve of no-liquor day

The spate of deaths were reported on the eve of no-liquor day observed by the state on November 26. Modi also accused the entire Motihari
district administration of hiding the fact. He also pointed that there are no deaths of children.

“The symptoms of all those who died, as reported by their family members, include headache followed by uncontrolled nausea. These symptoms are those of illicit liquor consumption,” Modi said.

District magistrate, Sridhar Chiruvolu, accepted no child died in the incident. All the deceased were in the age group of 30 to 50, except a 70-year-old woman. Chiruvolu said what the political leader claimed are his personal opinion.

“We are still waiting for the autopsy report. The district administration will make a formal announcement regarding the cause of the deaths very
soon,” he said.

Senior BJP leaders also accused chief minister Nitish Kumar of keeping the “hooch tragedy” at Suguali under wraps because he had to make a populist announcement on no-liquor day. The chief minister had announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh to self help groups that make a     village alcohol free.

Opposition parties have also demanded an independent inquiry for ascertaining the cause of the mystery deaths.

Autopsy reports awaited

Meera Verma, civil surgeon of Motihari, who is camping at Sugauli said that the deaths have ceased. “We are still clueless about the cause of
the deaths,” she said. Verma also added that a team of doctors are examining the viscera of the victims to find out the cause of the deaths.


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