Prohibition in Bihar, which was enacted from 1st April 2016, is turning out to be a completely different animal. According to reports, about 35,000 people were arrested in Bihar till 6th February this year after being suspected of possessing alcohol and the Bihar administration was planning on expanding prisons to accommodate the new occupants.
Under Bihar’s prohibition law, there are draconian provisions of jail sentences of as much as 5 to 10 years for someone who is caught possessing alcohol, whether or not he intends to sell it. There are even provisions for punishment being meted out to a group (such as a family or a locality) for one man’s crime. With the main opposition BJP also supporting it and the mainstream media generally being soft on Nitish, the laws have not attracted any substantial protest.
The alcohol ban in Bihar is now in the news again with reports claiming that a CRPF jawan named Soham Singh lost his life in judicial custody after he was caught possessing alcohol. What added a twist to the story was that the family members of the CRPF jawan reportedly came out with a doctor’s certificate, which had an alcohol prescription for the jawan as he had served in high altitude conditions.
The incident pertains to Vaishali in Bihar where the jawan was reportedly caught by the excise department on the evening of 17th May. The jawan then was reportedly in a drunken state and 2 liters of country liquor was also seized from him.
He was then produced before a court on Thursday where he reportedly started to bleed from his nose. Then he was admitted in a hospital where he lost his life at around 11:15 PM.
Family members, according to media reports, have filed a case of torture against the excise department officials. They are claiming that they had shown the alcohol prescription to the officials but they refused to accept it. They further alleged that the officials had also demanded money from him.
It has been reported that the jawan was posted in Ladakh but was back in Bihar for a holiday. But the acting SP of Vaishali has claimed that Soham was actually a deserter against whom a case regarding the same was registered at Chakradharpur police station in Jharkhand on November 26, 2016.
Now a medical board has been constituted to probe the matter and will carry out a postmortem of the body to ascertain the truth.