Alok Mishra

Gopalganj: Gopalganj Police and Excise Department officials can be directly held responsible for the hooch tragedy in the district in which 20 persons died recently.

If one takes into account the proceedings of district level Peace Committee, which was called for the preparation of Mahiviri Akhara on August 13, the district police and officials of the Excise Department ignored the statements of some of participants at the meeting. The meeting was attended by DM, SP, BJP MLA Mithilesh Tiwary, BJP MLC Aditya Narayan Pandey. BDOS, COs and SHOs of all the police stations of the district were also present on the occasion.

During the meeting, the then PP RamnathSahu had stated that liquor was being manufactured on largescale in Khajurbani and Hajiyapur Mushari. He also said that people were going there to consume liquor. Sahu had pleaded for complete ban on sale of liquor for safe passage of Mahaviri Akhara on August 18. Gopalganj SP had directed SDPO concerned to take action in this regard after the meeting was over. SDPO took Sahu with him at his office and directed SHO, Town police station, to carry out raids there.

When contacted, Gopalganj DM Rahul Kumar admitted that some of the members had raised this issue of sale of liquor at the meeting. He said that raids were regularly carried out at Harkhua and recovery was made from there. Kumar said that raids were also carried out Khajurbani and seizures were made from there as well. “If sale of liquor continued at Khajurbani, it could be either due to the negligence or insensitivity or patronage by the police and excise officials,” he said. The DM said that was the reason 29 police personnel including SHO of Town Police Station, Gopalganj, were placed under suspension after the tragedy. He said that action would be also taken against the excise officials too.

Some of the locals lamented that had the local police and excise officials had taken action on time, several lives could have been saved.


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