Patna, Nov 30 (IANS): A day after massive protests by the Pasi community in Patna, Jitan Ram Manjhi, the former chief minister of Bihar and Hindustani Awam Morcha patron, claimed that tari is a natural juice and keeping it in the category of liquor is completely wrong.
"Keeping tari in the category of liquor is completely wrong. Hence, I said again and again that the ban on tari should be lifted in Bihar. Tari is considered a natural juice and it cannot be compared with liquor. Lakhs of people of the Pasi community are dependent on this business," Manjhi said.
"Apart from banning liquor, the state government has also banned tari which is not right," he said.
The Pasi community on Tuesday held a huge protest in Patna. They claimed that the police targeted people belonging to the community and put them in jail for selling tari. They also claimed that almost all persons who were booked on the charge of selling tari are below the poverty line and this is the only source of their income.
Nikhil Anand, the national general secretary of BJP OBC wing and spokesperson said: "Police, administration are extorting the Pasi community people on the charge of selling tari and nira and putting the poor people in jail. On Tuesday, the Patna police assaulted them mercilessly and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is responsible for it."
Meanwhile, Amir Subhani, chief secretary of Bihar, said: "We are against tari as it has narcotic properties. Hence, the state government has promoted the production of nira which is considered good for health. It had good results before the Covid period. We have also given training to the farmers who are associated with this business."
"The production of tari and nira are similar as both are produced from palm trees. After the production of tari, it soon undergoes automatic fermentation for a few hours and becomes an intoxicant. If we put a special substance in the pot during the production, fermentation would not take place and it remains in the original juice form called nira. It is healthy for the human body," Subhani said.