Please Quit, Nitish Kumar Tells Cops Over Liquor Ban


Patna: Anyone who doesn’t want to work can go – this was Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s terse message to the state police, many of whom are in trouble over the enforcement of prohibition in the state.

Last week, chiefs of 11 police stations in the state got suspended after they were found wanting in the enforcing the ban on alcohol. Since then, a race has started for the rearguard position in the force — no one wants to lead.

The police association says they are getting written requests from officers who were chosen to head the 11 police stations who have asked to be excused from the job. So far, more than 200 officers have refused to take charge of police stations by accepting the rank of SHO or Station House Officer.

The Chief Minister said he was ready to oblige – only in a rather permanent fashion. Speaking at a function, Mr Kumar said, “No one is above the law… Everyone can be brought to trial except the President. Big men say they will not head police stations. Don’t. Quit the job and go.”

People, he said, were criticising the Excise Bill as draconian, but he was open to suggestion and nobody will misuse this law as there were enough safeguards.

The Excise Law, passed by the state assembly earlier this month, includes provisions like punishing the entire family of an adult found drinking and severe penalties for policemen found lax in enforcing prohibition.

The implementation started last week, with 10-year suspensions of 11 officers after equipment and utensils apparently used to brew liquor were found in the areas they are in charge of.

Calling the new law a “decisive step,” Mr Kumar, in a blog to NDTV wrote the law “makes the violators directly accountable for their actions”. The measures, he wrote, were a “response to the administrative experience of the state in enforcing the ban” and those criticizing might “advise as to the person to be arrested if, in a house, bottles of liquor are recovered, and no member of the family owns up to it”.

“They should also enlighten us who should be arrested in a case if the house is in the name of the wife… You cannot just criticize the law without suggesting the alternatives. It requires more than just playing to the galleries,” he had added.