175 ar­rested in con­nec­tion with hooch deaths, toll 77

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - Htnation - Man­ish Chan­dra Pandey/ S Raju

LUCKNOW/UMAHI( SAHARANPUR): As the death toll in the hooch tragedy that hit Ut­tarak­hand and Ut­tar Pradesh rose to at least 77, the Ut­tar Pradesh po­lice on Satur­day ar­rested 175 peo­ple in pos­si­bly the big­gest crack­down yet on those in­volved in man­u­fac­ture and sale of boot­leg liquor.

Po­lice also stepped up raids and an of­fi­cial said a record 92,697 litre of il­licit liquor was seized from across Ut­tar Pradesh, while 297 sep­a­rate cases were filed.

The first of the deaths were re­ported on Thurs­day and by late Satur­day, 37 had died in Saharanpur district of west­ern Ut­tar Pradesh, 11 in Kushi­na­gar district of eastern UP while an­other 31 had suc­cumbed to the poi­son­ing in Balupur and neigh­bour­ing vil­lages in Ut­tarak­hand’s Haridwar district. In at least the Saharanpur and the Haridwar district deaths, the hooch is sus­pected to be from the same source, pos­si­bly made in vil­lages that fall near the Ut­tarak­hand-up bor­der.

UP chief min­is­ter Yogi Adityanath also spoke to his Ut­tarak­hand coun­ter­part Triven­dra Singh Rawat for a co­or­di­nated crack­down on boot­leg­ging rings. “We won’t spare the guilty. We are fo­cus­ing on the mas­ter­mind,” Adityanath said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party leader hinted in­volve­ment of the Sa­ma­jwadi Party, say­ing, “In the past, too, such type of mis­chievous acts by SP lead­ers had come to the fore. In Aza­m­garh, Har­doi Kan­pur and Bara­banki, SP lead­ers were found to be in­volved in past hooch tragedies. We can’t deny a con­spir­acy this time too.

Be­tween July 2017 – four months after the BJP gov­ern­ment came to power in UP – and last week, at least 74 peo­ple died after con­sumer hooch. Con­sump­tion of boot­leg liquor is a prob­lem in ru­ral dis­tricts of In­dia, where the poor are of­ten un­able to af­ford le­gal al­co­hol. Such liquor turns poi­sonous if brewed im­prop­erly.

PTI

Fam­ily mem­bers of the vic­tims who fell crit­i­cally ill after con­sum­ing spu­ri­ous liquor wait out­side a hospi­tal in Saharanpur on Satur­day.

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