At least 16 people have died at a village in Bihar over the last few days, in a suspected case of alcohol poisoning in a state that had passed the prohibition law six years ago.
According to a statement issued by the administration of West Champaran district, headquartered in Bettiah, family members of four victims have confirmed the consumption of liquor prior to death.
Two persons apparently died of some illness – documents produced by family members suggested, while the families of 10 others were non-committal about the possible cause of death.
Eight people died on Thursday while eight others were reported on the following day.
Five persons, including the 22-year-old son of Thag Sah, who is said to be involved in the trade of illicit liquor, have been arrested in connection with an FIR that was registered on the basis of statements given by a relative of 36-year-old Mumtaz Miyan, who is undergoing treatment at a private hospital after he fell ill after consuming the spurious liquor.
The sale and consumption of liquor in the state were completely banned by the Nitish Kumar government in April 2016.
The state has enacted a stringent prohibition law which includes penal action against anyone if alcohol is recovered from their premises.
According to the statement issued by the administration, an appeal has been made by District Magistrate Kundan Kumar to the villagers to “come out and share all information without fear” with regards to the “mysterious” deaths.