Patna: Claiming that toddy has not been listed among toxic substances under the Bihar Excise Act, senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi charged Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with targeting the Pasi community by arresting them for selling toddy derived from palm tree, on Wednesday.
"When there is no ban on sale of toddy under the Bihar Excise Act then on what ground Principal Secretary (Excise) K K Pathak has directed the district officials to crackdown on sale of toddy?" he asked.
Claiming that many people belonging to the Pasi community have been arrested for selling toddy, Modi charged the Chief Minister with targeting these people belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC) category for political reasons.
Sushil Modi also criticised the role of Bihar Police and alleged people of the Pasi community were being terrorised by the police for selling and consuming toddy.
On the Chief Minister's contention that he was only pursuing the state government's policy on toddy in pursuant to a circular issued by the then Chief Minister Lalu Prasad in 1991, the senior BJP leader claimed there was no restriction on production, storage, consumption and trade of toddy.
The said circular issued 25 years ago had only stated the specific places where the shops selling toddy could not be set up, Modi said in a statement.