As death toll mounts in two northern Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, police have launched a massive crackdown on the illegal dens of spurious liquor manufacturing places, officials said Sunday.
Over 200 people have been detained and cases registered against the persons for manufacturing and selling liquor without authorization. Officials confirmed the death toll has mounted to 72, however, local media reports suggest the tragedy has claimed over 100 lives. “We can’t give you the exact death toll as post-mortems are awaited in many cases,” a senior official in Uttar Pradesh told Xinhua. “We have confirmed 46 deaths in Saharanpur district but the post-mortem report of only 36 cases suggest they have died due to consumption of alcohol. In the remaining 10 cases viscera report is still awaited.”
Officials said in Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh eight deaths have been reported because of the consumption of hooch. Reports said police teams during the crackdown have seized 9,269 liters of hooch in Uttar Pradesh and detained over 150 people for questioning. The action has been taken following instructions from Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. “This is preliminary stage of investigation and people are being brought for questioning but it will be decided later as to against whom the cases will be registered,” a senior police official said. “We have detained many people and guilty would be dealt as per the law of land.”
In Rorkee of Haridwar district in Uttarakhand 28 people have died because of the consumption of hooch. “The viscera examination on more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcohol-related deaths,” an official said. The authorities have suspended 13 excise department personnel and four policemen in Uttarakhand. Around 1,066 liters of hooch have been seized during the raid and over 50 people detained in state, reports said. “The entire matter is being investigated and guilty would not be spared,” an excise department official said. According to health officials around 150 others were being treated for severe side effects from the hooch in the twin states. Officials suspected the death toll is likely to go up in wake of many people admitted in hospitals. In December 2011, hooch tragedy killed 172 people in West Bengal. Spurious alcohol deaths are often reported in India, where people often drink cheap country made bootleg liquor.