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Tragedy in Lihoda Gandhinagar: Two Lives Lost to Prohibition’s Shadow

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The festive cheer of Uttarayan turned into mourning for two families in Gujarat’s Lihoda village, as Kanji Jhala and Vikramsinh Jhala lost their lives allegedly after consuming country liquor. While police authorities maintain it was not a case of hooch poisoning but complications from alcohol consumption on empty stomachs, the incident raises questions about the effectiveness of Gujarat’s strict prohibition laws and their impact on vulnerable communities.

Unraveling the Cause:

Police investigations point towards excessive alcohol consumption leading to hypoglycemia as the cause of death. However, villagers paint a different picture, alleging the easy availability of country liquor in the area supplied by bootleggers like Pratap Jhala. The presence of methyl alcohol in the deceased’s homes hasn’t been confirmed, but the ambiguity surrounding the cause leaves behind a lingering sense of doubt.

Beyond the Numbers:

This incident isn’t isolated. It echoes countless similar tragedies linked to prohibition in Gujarat. While officials boast of effective implementation and curbing of alcohol consumption, lives like Kanji and Vikramsinh’s tell a different story. The accessibility of illicit liquor through illegal networks exposes a chink in the prohibition armor, putting vulnerable communities at risk.

Politicization and Responsibility:

Opposition voices like Amit Chavda point fingers at government negligence and collusion with bootleggers, demanding accountability. Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi counters with claims of stringent action against violators and effective prohibition implementation. This political tug-of-war doesn’t bring back lost lives, but highlights the need for a nuanced approach beyond mere blame game.

Moving Forward:

The Lihoda tragedy is a stark reminder of the human cost of prohibition. Instead of simply dismissing incidents as individual cases, it’s crucial to address the loopholes in the system, tackle the illicit liquor trade effectively, and provide support mechanisms for vulnerable communities struggling with alcohol dependence. Open dialogue, acknowledging the ground realities, and a collaborative effort to address the root causes are essential to prevent further tragedies.

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