Anger boiling over hooch deaths | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Anger boiling over hooch deaths

Hundreds of residents of Raghubir Nagar area in West Delhi took to the streets on Monday to express anger over 16 deaths allegedly caused by consumption of spurious liquor during the last week, reports Karan Choudhury.

delhi Updated: Apr 07, 2009 01:29 IST
Karan Choudhury

Hundreds of residents of Raghubir Nagar area in West Delhi took to the streets on Monday to express anger over 16 deaths allegedly caused by consumption of spurious liquor during the last week.

The agitators even tried to burn down the Rajouri Garden police booth. They disrupted traffic and lit fires in the middle of the road. Ram Ji, a local resident, said, “Even after we informed the police about the hooch mafia, they did nothing about it. Now, we will root out the problem from our locality ourselves.”

The tragedy

Altogether 15 families in the area have lost their breadwinners. However, the plight of three children — Ganesh (5), Ajay (3) and Deepak (2) — is the severest. Both their parents, Ramesh (40) and Sunita (35), died after drinking hooch and the children are now left helpless. “Who will look after them? I cannot afford to take care of three more children. I do not know what will happen to them,” said Basant, a relative.

All the victims were from the same Gujarati community and made a living by offering utensils in exchange for rags.

Last month’s deaths

The police suspect that the hooch in the Raghubir Nagar area might be part of the same consignment of spurious liquor that caused 17 deaths in the Dabri area of southwest Delhi last month.

A Sansi woman, Seema (31), has been arrested in connection with the case.

The police have blamed the Sansis, a de-notified tribe, for peddling spurious liquor in both cases.

Police raids at Sansi homes in West and Southwest Delhi, however, were fruitless. “The problem is that they store spurious liquor not in their houses but in makeshift godowns. When we conducted raids, most of them had already fled their houses,” said a senior police officer.

Police said around 70 bootleggers – mostly Sansis - are active in the Raghubir Nagar area.

Known brand

The police also said the killer hooch in both localities bore fake labels of Shokeen – a brand that is reportedly available in government liquor vends.