Death toll in Ut­tarak­hand-UP hooch tragedy rises to 70

Business Standard - - OPINION - PRESS TRUST OF IN­DIA

The death toll in the hooch tragedy, that hit two ad­join­ing dis­tricts in Ut­tarak­hand and Ut­tar Pradesh, rose to 70. More peo­ple died of the spu­ri­ous liquor they drank at a Haridwar vil­lage, of­fi­cials said on Satur­day.

The vis­cera ex­am­i­na­tion on 11 more bod­ies is yet to be con­ducted to find out if these, too, were al­co­hol­re­lated deaths.

In Balupur, and its neigh­bour­ing vil­lages in Haridwar, 24 peo­ple died, state’s Ad­di­tional Di­rec­tor Gen­eral (law and or­der) Ashok Ku­mar said.

At least 46 oth­ers, who had come home to the ad­join­ing Saharanpur district in Ut­tar Pradesh af­ter drink­ing the spu­ri­ous liquor in Balupur on Thurs­day night, are also dead.

Ut­tar Pradesh of­fi­cials said 35 of the Saharanpur deaths took place in the district it­self. Eleven other vic­tims, who were re­ferred from Saharanpur for med­i­cal treat­ment in Meerut, died at a hos­pi­tal there.

In Ut­tarak­hand, about 20 peo­ple are still un­der treat­ment. Most of the vic­tims had con­sumed the liquor on Thurs­day evening, af­ter the tehravin, the 13th day of mourn­ing rit­ual, fol­low­ing a rel­a­tive’s death in Balupur, of­fi­cials said.

Ut­tar Pradesh po­lice, how­ever, added a Saharanpur district res­i­dent may have brought 30 pouches of the same liquor from Ut­tarak­hand for sale back home.

This may have led to more ca­su­al­ties, of­fi­cial said, but the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is still on.

Both states have sus­pended ad­min­is­tra­tive and po­lice of­fi­cials for al­leged neg­li­gence, and or­dered probes.

They have also an­nounced ex-gra­tia com­pen­sa­tion of ~2 lakh each for the fam­i­lies of those killed.

Ear­lier, Saharanpur District Mag­is­trate Alok Pandey said peo­ple from Nan­gal, and ad­join­ing vil­lages in his district, had started fall­ing ill when they re­turned home from Balupur on Thurs­day night.

Many of the Saharanpur vic­tims were not im­me­di­ately ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal, as the area was hit by rain and a hail­storm, he said.

Till late Fri­day night, 16 peo­ple had died in Haridwar, and 18 more in Saharanpur. By Satur­day af­ter­noon, the com­bined death toll had risen to 70.

In an un­re­lated in­ci­dent, nine peo­ple have died over the week in eastern UP's Kushi­na­gar district, al­legedly af­ter drink­ing spu­ri­ous liquor.

Chief Min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath has or­dered de­part­men­tal ac­tion against district ex­cise of­fi­cers of Kushi­na­gar and Saharanpur, the state gov­ern­ment said.

In Ut­tarak­hand, 13 ex­cise depart­ment per­son­nel and four po­lice­men have been sus­pensed. Ten po­lice­men were sus­pended on Fri­day in Ut­tar Pradesh. Both states an­nounced drives to curb the sale spu­ri­ous liquor.

Ut­tar Pradesh of­fi­cials said 35 of the Saharanpur deaths took place in the district it­self

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