Patna: Acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court Hemant Gupta and Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh, hearing on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a private group called Forum for Public Interest Litigation, asked the Nitish-led state government to explain why it was encouraging school children to join in the proposed human chain in support of the prohibition as part of the government's propaganda program.

The court has sought the reply by Thursday, January 19.

"The government needs to explain under what provision it was encouraging young school children to be a part of a government-sponsored program and under which regulations it had authorized the shutting down or blocking of roads and highways across the state to make a political point," the court asked.

As heavily publicized by the government machinery with orders coming straight from the Chief Minister's office, a 'world's longest human chain' has been planned by Nitish Kumar to publicize total prohibition in Bihar that he introduced last year after regaining power in the state.

Kumar, who has been accused by his opponents of acting less like a senior public official and more like an anti-alcohol crusader in the last couple of years to divert attention from serious developmental issues, had invited Biharis of all ages and sexes to join him in what he described as the 'world's largest human chain' on January 21 to prove that the people of Bihar were entirely with him on the issue of prohibition.

"The human chain would be more than 12,000 kilometers long and will consist of over two crore people," a senior official had said.

The proposed human chain would last roughly 45 minutes and cost an estimated Rs. 10 crore to the state exchequer, sources said.

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