Bihar forms world's largest human chain against liquor

Bihar forms world's largest human chain against liquor

Bihar forms world's largest human chain against liquor
Bihar today claimed to have formed the world's largest human chain with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, political leaders, cutting across party lines, and citizens held each other's hand to reaffirm commitment towards liquor ban. The 45-minute-long human chain started at 12:15 PM at the historic Gandhi Maidan when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar floated colourful balloons, and ended at 1 PM.

The chief minister joined hands with RJD supremo Lalu Prasad on the one side and state Legislative Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary on the other to begin the chain of people to express unity in support of prohibition. Legislative Council Chairman Awdesh Narayan Singh, Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, state Congress President and minister Ashok Choudhary, NCP General Secretary and MP Tariq Anwar and a host of ministers and legislators held each other's hand at the begining of the chain which branched to different directions to stretch across Bihar.

Opposition BJP which lent support to the human chain joined the queue in Siwan, where their two-day state executive committee meeting is beginning today. Top BJP leaders Sushil Kumar Modi, Union minister of state Ramkripal Yadav, Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Prem Kumar, party national spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain and party MP from Maharajganj Janardan Singh Sigriwal joined each other's hand in Siwan as part of human chain.

The CM, Lalu Prasad and other leaders stood in lines to form a map of Bihar in Gandhi Maidan. A picture of liquor bottle with a cross sign was drawn in the middle of this map to give the message against alcohol. Bihar was written in dark black colour in the middle of the map so that a clear picture of the event is captured through ISRO sattelite, drones and helicopters.

To display communal harmony, four children dressed in traditional attires of hindus, muslims, sikhs and christians stood by side of the CM and Lalu Prasad. The human chain is estimated to cover a distance of 11,292 km involving two crore citizens. The Bihar human chain is tipped to be the world's largest so far. The previous record is of 1050 km long human chain which was formed in Bangladesh in 2004.

Though reaction of the CM on today's mammoth event is yet to come, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad told reporters all parties and citizens in general were together to fight evil of liquor. Congress state President and minister Ashok Choudhary, whose Education department is the organiser of the human chain programme told reporters that it was the biggest social congregation of people in the country after Independence.

Kumar has already said today's human chain programme was launched as a special drive in support of prohibition and make Bihar intoxicant-free in next two months. Bihar is witnessing complete ban on alcohol, domestic as well Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) since April 2016. The CM has taken prohibition exercise in a mission mode.

Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, state police chief P K Thakur and a host of civil and police officials held each other's hand as part of human chain in Gandhi maidan. Excitement of the event was visible among school children who stood in the human chain in Patna and elsewhere. Tabishi Sinha, a student of DAV BSEB school of Patna, hailed the event to express strong resolve against liquor.

"It's historic that all our schoolmates and other students have joined hands with each other to send a loud and clear message of 'no' to alcohol," said Tabishi, whose school stood at the stretch from CM's house to J D Womens' college. A student of Notre Dame Ayesha Sayeed, whose school stood in line near Kurji More here, said it's a historic moment as we are becoming part of a great social revolution. Women formed bulk of human chain in Patna and elsewhere.

Burqa-clad muslim women stood in queue in Gandhi maidan display participation of people from all faiths. BJP which had decided to participate in the human chain programme said they were against liquor but would continue to raise voice against some stringent clauses in new Excise Law, 2016 like arrest of all adults in event of recovery of liquor bottle in a house, community fine and  seizure of premises if even an empty liquor bottle is found.

Media reports suggest that BJP, which has been vocal against the liquor law, came in support of it after Prime Minister Narendra Modi patted Kumar on prohibition at the 350th Prakash Parva function on January 5. Talking to reporters while standing in human chain in Siwan, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said "we always stood in support of liquor ban. It's due to pressure created by BJP that the state government clamped a total ban on alcohol, domestic as well Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL)."

Last week, the Bihar government announced to shut all manufacturing units of liquor in the state from next financial year only due to pressure of BJP, Sushil said. Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar said "we are not standing for any individual (Nitish Kumar) but against alcohol." Union state minister Ramkripal Yadav and party spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain echoed similar views.

The state government made elaborate arrangements to capture the historical moments of human chain. ISRO has been involved to use Indian and foreign satellites to take photos of human chain. 40 drones, one chopper and four trainer aircraft have been engaged to film the event.

Nitish Kumar, in a message issued after the human chain, expressed thanks to the citizens of Bihar. "Through unprecedented support, the citizens of Bihar have sent a strong message against liquor and intoxicants not only in the country but across the world," he said. "Today, people displayed that foundation of social change has been laid in Bihar," he added.

The CM urged the citizens to continue displaying their unity and strong determination against liquor in future too. Meanwhile, reports of formation of human chain poured in from Begusarai, Darbhanga, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi and other districts. District Magistrates and Superintendent of Police joined citizens in their areas as part of the 45 minute event.

The 11,292-km human chain covered National Highways, State Highways and branch roads within districts of Bihar. While NHs/SHs form 3007 km of human chain sub-routes is extended in 8285 km. With 2,000 participants standing in one km of human chain, an estimated two crore citizens are said to have joined the event.  

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