Manjhi Wants Dalits Arrested Under Prohibition Law Released from Jails

Jitan Ram Manjhi at a press conference in Patna on Thursday.

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Patna: Former Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi now wants those who are locked up in jails on charges of violating Bihar's prohibition laws to be freed on the basis of their caste.

"Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should order the release of all Dalits and backwards who were sent to jail for breaking prohibition laws. They were separated from their families for even the slightest infraction of the stringent alcohol law and were the victims of the Nitish administration that routinely targeted them to prove that the prohibition laws were working in the state," Manjhi, who earlier joined hands with Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) after walking out of the NDA, said at a press conference in Patna on Thursday.

The former Chief Minister of Bihar also took shot at Kumar who recently revealed major changes in the prohibition law were coming in the next few months.

"After he filled all jails in Bihar with Dalits and backwards, now that the elections are right around the corner, he is talking about making changes in the law," he said adding out of 1.27 lakh people doing time for violating prohibition laws, over 78,000 were Dalits.

Once a protégé of Nitish Kumar who made him Bihar's Chief Minister for a brief period of time only to take back the seat from him after a brief self-imposed political exile, the HAM leader said the Janata Dal – U leader should apologize to the people of Bihar, and particularly to the Dalits, for imposing prohibition in the state.

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