Patna: The death toll in a hooch tragedy in Bihar has risen to 26 with eight more people losing their lives, police said on Sunday.

"Eight more people have died since Saturday after consuming spurious liquor," a police official said. The tragedy occurred on Thursday night in Anitha village in Bhojpur district, some 60 km from Patna, where villagers complained of stomach pain and threw up after consuming locally made liquor.

Nine people, including four women, died on Thursday, three on Friday and six on Saturday, police said. Bhojpur Superintendent of Police M R Nayak said over two dozen people had been arrested in this connection.

"More arrests are likely," he said. District Magistrate Pratima S Verma said a six-member committee had been set up to probe the incident. The deaths sparked widespread protests in Bhojpur.

Hundreds of students blocked roads on Sunday while BJP legislator Amrendra Pratap blamed the state government for the incident.

Rashtriya Janata Dal leaders said the government's policy to promote sale of country liquor was responsible for the deaths.


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