Death toll in Uttarakhand-UP hooch tragedy rises to 70
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