Bihar’s Prohibition Bill ‘quixotic,’ says Paswan

Updated - September 20, 2016 11:15 am IST

Published - August 03, 2016 02:29 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has termed the new Prohibition Bill of Bihar a “Tughlaqi Firman” and warned that its “quixotic” prescriptions could one day build a case for the arrest of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

“The Lok Janshakti Party opposes this law and I have told LJP MLAs to oppose it tooth and nail. I’m not against prohibition, but this law is totally like a Tughlaqi Firman [quixotic]. It seeks to extend liability on all adults in a household where alcohol has been consumed, and holds the bosses of offices liable if someone is found drinking on their office premises. Arbitrary search powers have been given to officials. Then what of the Chief Minister of the State, under whose nose more than a dozen liquor factories operate? He has knowledge of this trade in liquor, should he not be arrested under the same law?” Mr. Paswan said. “From district magistrates to darogas in police stations, the powers this law gives of search and seizure are very scary,” he said.

“This kind of overarching law and the powers it gives of search and seizure will lead to oppression in the countryside. Anyone who wants to settle scores with another person in a village, will just have to plant some liquor in that household and alert the authorities. The Chief Minister knows the structures of oppression in the countryside, and is empowering it. If all adults in a household are arrested, what of the minors left behind? This is an absurd law,” he said.

“The law also smacks of hypocrisy with the State allowed to produce liquor and not consume it. So we will export this evil to other States and profit from it?” he said.

Mr. Paswan also stoutly defended the NDA government’s record of protection of Dalits and said that he had asked Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Mulayam Singh to take stern action against Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leaders who used objectionable language against the women in former BJP leader Dayashankar Singh’s family.

A social evil

“Atrocities against Dalits is a social evil and is prevalent everywhere. The number of cases in Uttar Pradesh is the highest in the country, and in the last few months at least four big cases of atrocities against Dalits have happened in Bihar. Why is it then that only the incident in Gujarat provokes outrage from certain parties?”

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