Aizawl: Members of the Mizoram Congress youth wing staged a demonstration at the government secretariat in Aizawl demanding an ex-gratia to the relatives of a 52-year-old woman, who allegedly died after the raid of her grape wine shops by the state excise and narcotics department.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Congress youth wing had submitted a representation to state excise minister K Beichhua demanding an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 crore to the relatives of Lalhriatpuii, whose recent death has been allegedly linked to the depression caused by the seizure of Rs. 22 lakh worth locally processed grape wine from her shop.

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In a statement, the Congress party had also asked excise and narcotics minister K Beichhua to step down as minister on moral grounds.

Congress youth president Lalmalsawma Nghaka said that activists of the Congress youth wing on Wednesday gathered in front of the minister’s office at the state secretariat demanding the state government to provide ex-gratia to the relatives of Lalhriatpuii. 

He said that they have demanded an apology from the minister over his remarks before the media on the seizure of grape wine bottles apart from giving ex-gratia to the next of kin of the woman.
Nghaka alleged that Beichhua had claimed the seizure of whiskey bottles along with grape wine from Lalhriatpuii’s shop during an interview with some journalists. 

However, not a single bottle of whiskey was seized from the woman’s shop according to the seizure list recorded by the excise department, he said. The Congress youth president said that they will intensify their agitation. 

“We did not receive any positive response from the minister today. We will intensify our agitation. We will also demand his resignation if he fails to apologise and compensate the victim,” Nghaka said.

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Beichhua refused to comment on the matter. “I think this is not the right time to comment on the issue as it is at its peak of escalation. I  hope the truth will be revealed at the end,” the minister said.
Family sources said that Lalhriatpuii, a widow who ran a locally made grape wine shop in Aizawl’s largest shopping mall, died of a stroke on Monday while being brought to Aizawl from Guwahati. 

He recently visited Nepal with her friends for recreation and to collect some garments. On her way back home, she collapsed at a hotel in Guwahati and was rushed to a nearby hospital there. She was brought to Aizawl on Monday but died on the way.

The death of Lalhriatpuii has sparked outrage on social media with Congress and netizens linking her death to the depression she had allegedly experienced after officials of the excise and narcotics department seized Rs. 22 lakh worth of grape wine from her shop on May 27.

However, a close relative of the woman said that they were not sure about her death being linked to the seizure of grape wines. 

He said that the woman had already undergone surgery due to thyroid in the past for which she used to develop medical problems occasionally. The relative, who refused to be named, however, said that Lalhriatpuii had depression and insomnia soon after the incident at her shop. 

Meanwhile, the youth wing of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) blamed the Congress youth for demanding ex-gratia to the next of kin of Lalhriatpuii over her death.

The youth wing has also questioned Congress youth about medical proof to link the woman’s death to the seizure of grape wines from her shop. 


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