New Delhi (South Asia News) - As many as 43 people have died after drinking illegally-distilled liquor in India's western Gujarat state, which prompted the state government to take action against local police officers, news reports said Wednesday. The death toll rose after 27 more deaths were reported from different areas in the state's Ahmedabad district since Tuesday evening, according to Gujarat police chief. Most of the victims were workers. The victims had consumed the liquor Sunday night and the first death was reported on Tuesday, police said. Twenty nine people were being treated at hospitals. They said a high percentage of ethyl alcohol in the brew seems to have caused so many casualties.
The sale and consumption of alcohol is banned across Gujarat since the state's formation in 1960. The incident prompted protests in the city on Tuesday in which women demanded that the government crack down on illegal liquor dens. There was more trouble after the state administration ordered police raids on local stills, the Times of India newspaper reported. Protests began in worker-dominated localities in Ahmedabad where the preparation and sale of liquor is common, the report said.
Residents threw stones and police used tear-gas to disperse the crowds after raids at five places in the district. The rising death toll also sparked protests from voluntary organizations as well as Gujarat's main opposition Congress party who have blamed the state administration for the tragedy. Police said the situation was 'tense but under control' and the matter was being thoroughly investigated to identify liquor dens and arrest bootleggers across the state. Illicit liquor is a thriving business in India because it is much cheaper than legal alcohol, but contaminated products cause scores of deaths each year, mostly in the eastern and southern regions.
WHAT DO THE VEDIC TEACHINGS TELL US?The desire of the living entity to come into the material world is not very difficult to understand. Although one may be born in a family of Āryans, where there are restrictions against meat-eating, intoxication, gambling and illicit sex, still one may want to enjoy these forbidden things. There is always someone who wants to go to a prostitute for illicit sex or to a hotel to eat meat and drink wine. There is always someone who wants to gamble at nightclubs or enjoy so-called sports. All these propensities are already within the hearts of the living entities, but some living entities stop to enjoy these abominable activities and consequently fall down to a degraded platform. The more one desires a degraded life within his heart, the more he falls down to occupy different forms of abominable existence. This is the process of transmigration and evolution. A particular type of animal may have a strong tendency to enjoy one kind of sense enjoyment, but in the human form one can enjoy all the senses. The human form has the facility to utilize all the senses for gratification.
Unless one is properly trained, he becomes a victim of the modes of material nature, as confirmed by Bhagavad-gītā (3.27): "The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature." As soon as one desires to enjoy his senses, he puts himself under the control of material energy and automatically, or mechanically, is placed into the cycle of birth and death in various life-forms.
Srila A.C. BV Swami Prabhupada:
"El Srimad Bhagavatam - Purport in Canto 4 - Chapter 29 - Verse 4"