A day after more than 60 people died due to consumption of illicit liquor in two adjoining districts in Uttarakhand’s Balupur and Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday condemned the incident saying she is shocked and saddened.
“I am very shocked and saddened to know that more than 100 people have been killed in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur, Kushinagar and several villages, and the death toll is continuing to mount,” she said in her first official statement after taking charge as general secretary. “No amount of condemnation is enough for this heart-wrenching incident,” she said in the statement issued in Hindi, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, two people were arrested Sunday afternoon in connection with the incident in Uttarakhand. Locals in Shahranpur resorted to blocking roads and demanded action against the culprits. “Our children should get free of cost education. Women who lost their husbands should be given jobs. Culprits should be given strict punishment,” ANI quoted a protester as saying.
More than 20 people died in Balupur and its neighbouring villages in Haridwar district and around 40 had died in UP’s Saharanpur district. The Uttar Pradesh police and the state excise department Saturday conducted a statewide joint operation against spurious liquor traders. As many as 297 cases were registered and 175 people allegedly involved in the spurious liquor business, were arrested. Police also seized a large quantity of spurious liquor.
“I am extremely distressed to hear about such a tragic incident and express my deepest condolences to the family members of the deceased persons,” Priyanka added. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had also issued a stern warning after the incident pinning the blame on Samajwadi Party. “In past too such type of mischievous acts by SP leaders had come to fore. In Azamgarh, Hardoi Kanpur and Barabanki SP leaders were found to be involved in past hooch tragedies. We can’t deny conspiracy this time too,” said the chief minister.