Thirty-four people died in two adjoining districts allegedly after drinking spurious liquor in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district, officials said Friday. Sixteen of the victims died in Uttarakhand’s Balupur village itself and 18 deaths took place in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district, which adjoins Uttarakhand, as the people who had attended the mourning ritual returned home. The victims had consumed the liquor Thursday evening at the ‘tehravin’ — the 13th day of mourning — to mark a death, officials said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said in a Facebook post, “It is very unfortunate. My deepest condolences to the families of the victims who succumbed to it. I pray for (the) speedy recovery of those fighting for life in hospitals.”
Meanwhile, the death toll in UP’s Kushinagar hooch tragedy has risen to eight.
Altogether, 25 government officials, including excise department officers and policemen, have been suspended in Saharanpur and Kushinagar following the incidents.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath took serious note of the incident in the two districts and ordered a 15-day joint drive by excise and police officials against those involved. He also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of those who died and a help of Rs 50,000 each for those undergoing treatment in hospitals.
“Local residents consumed liquor at the event and some of them brought a few liquor packets back to Saharanpur on Thursday evening,” said sub-inspector Shailendra Kumar Sharma, speaking on behalf of SSP Saharanpur.
“On returning home, they distributed those packets among other villagers. On Friday early morning, those who consumed the liquor started vomiting and when their condition deteriorated, they were rushed to hospital,” Sharma added.
District Magistrate of Saharanpur A K Pandey said 10 policemen and four excise officials have been suspended on charges of laxity following the Saharanpur incident.
Meanwhile, Kushinagar District Magistrate said five policemen and six excise officials have been suspended on charges of laxity. Police have arrested two persons in this connection.