Pasis Drink Toddy at Gandhi Maidan; Over 100 Arrested

Pasis in Patna protest ban on toddy by drinking toddy.

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Patna: It was only a matter of time before someone came out in protest against prohibition in Bihar and surprisingly, the first protest came from the 'toddy' lovers who gathered at the Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Monday and openly drank toddy in defiance of the new law that turned Bihar into a dry state.

Protest toddy drinkers arrested in Patna on Monday.Hundreds of members of the Pasi community, the traditional toddy traders, on Monday gathered at the Gandhi Maidan and slammed the Nitish government of destroying their bread and butter on which they had relied for generation. In an act of defiance of the prohibition law, they also drank toddy in full view of the law enforcement officials.

Several women also came out in support of toddy saying pulling toddy from the tree and selling it was their only livelihood and any attempt to ban it would essentially throw the Pasi community into starvation.

"The Chief Minister has, on purpose, kept the law very vague so as to allow those people to keep selling toddy who were willing and able to grease the palm of the officials. He should clarify who can sell and who cannot so the police stopped harassing us," said a woman participating in today's protest.

Alarmed by the situation, the Gandhi Maidan police station sprung into action and arrested more than a hundred people for violating the prohibition law and drinking in public place.

Among the arrested persons was former Bihar legislator Ajit Chowdhary who said that no law was going to stop him and others from drinking toddy.

"The government should mind its own business instead of infringing on my birth right," Chowdhary said.

While most people were later released on their own cognizance, eight men, including Chowdhary, were sent to jail, Gandhi Maidan police station in-charge Nikhil Kumar said.

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