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Suspected hooch kills 10 in dry Bihar during Holi

Bhagalpur/Madhepura (Bihar): At least 10 deaths in two districts of dry Bihar have been blamed by locals on suspected consumption of spurious liquor during Holi celebrations, police said on Sunday.

Eight deaths have been reported in Bhagalpur district, including four in Sahibganj locality of Bhagalpur town and the remaining in different villages in Narayanpur police station area.

Narayanpur SHO Ramesh Sah said that only after post-mortem examination could he confirm whether the deceased had consumed hooch.

He also claimed that one of the deceased had, apparently, suffered a heart attack and another had a fall while climbing up a ladder.

Rita Kumari, SHO of University police station under which Sahibganj falls, similarly said that illicit liquor consumption could be confirmed only after an autopsy.

One Sahibganj resident lost his eyesight and is being treated at a hospital. Locals vented their ire on Sunday morning by burning tyres

on the road. Traffic resumed after police had a word with them.

Besides, two people have died in Madhepura district's Murliganj block where locals allege hooch business is rampant.

Murliganj SHO Rajkishore Mandal said that the cause of the deaths could not be ascertained since the family members of the deceased had cremated the bodies before the police learnt about the incident.

However, nearly seven people have taken ill after consuming spurious liquor and they have been admitted to the local community health center.

A dry state for close to six years, Bihar has been witnessing a spurt in hooch deaths since Deepawali last year, in an embarrassment for the Nitish Kumar government which

has cracked down on prohibition violators with high-end technology, deploying drones and helicopters for surveillance.

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