Highlighting the fact that the policy has disproportionately hit the poor, he said, “The rich can get alcohol home delivered. They can pay money to the police. They never get caught. It is the poor who are jailed. This is an anti-Dalit, anti-poor move,” Modi said.
In the aftermath of death of over 60 people dying due to consumption of spurious liquor in different parts of Bihar and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s continued apathy towards the victims and their family members, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sushil Kumar Modi called for reforms in liquor ban policy as it disproportionately affects the poor and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Calling Nitish Kumar’s comments on the deaths as shameful, Modi said, “More than 100 people have died in Chapra. In six years since the implementation of this policy 1000 people have died and 4 lakh people incarcerated. Which section do these people come from? They are not rich.”
Highlighting the fact that the policy has disproportionately hit the poor, he said, “The rich can get alcohol home delivered. They can pay money to the police. They never get caught. It is the poor who are jailed. This is an anti-Dalit, anti-poor move,” he said.
He further emphasised that the BJP backed the policy in the past at a huge economic cost simply keeping in mind welfare of the people. But the poor implementation has turned the policy nightmare with thousands of crores being lost and lakhs of people behind bars, while also putting extreme pressure on the police administration. “Approximately Rs 30,000 crore loss is being incurred. We still supported it, because in principle we are in favour of prohibition. But due to implementation we have four lakh people, mostly poor behind bars. The entire police administration is just engaged in just implementing this. There has to be a better way of implementing this.”
When asked if the porous border was the reason behind the constant influx of illegal liquor in the state, Modi squarely blamed Nitish Kumar. “Who are the police under? Who is the excise department under? Nitish Kumar is entirely responsible for this.”
It is to be noted that the sale and consumption of alcohol was completely banned in Bihar by the Nitish Kumar government in April, 2016.
The issue was taken up in the Bihar assembly on Wednesday when BJP MLAs targeted CM Nitish Kumar over the deaths and raised slogans against the government, demanding compensation to family members of those who lost their lives in the tragedy.
However, Nitish said he wouldn’t give compensation to people who died because of consuming alcohol.