Hooch toll at 148, youngest victim a 15-yr-old | india | Hindustan Times
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Hooch toll at 148, youngest victim a 15-yr-old

india Updated: Dec 16, 2011 10:44 IST
HT Correspondent

A number of those killed the hooch tragedy that claimed 148 lives in Bengal are minors. The youngest to die was a boy of 15. Three others between the ages of 10 and 12 years are admitted in hospitals.

The number of minors affected or killed by this tragedy could not be ascertained, but the figure is believed to be "significant".

"It is a social reality which stems from poverty," said south 24 Parganas police super LN Meena. "The district magistrate and I are launching awareness campaigns to keep children away from such stuff."

The toll, which stood at 65 late on Wednesday night, began galloping since morning, sending shock waves across the state still struggling to come to terms with the 91 deaths in last week's hospital fire.

With more than 100 patients still in hospitals, the toll is expected to rise, said NS Nigam, district magistrate, South 24 Parganas. Video

The investigation has been handed over to the state criminal investigation department, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee. But police have already arrested 10 people.

The arrests, however, failed to cool tempers. On Thursday afternoon, a mob set fire to the houses of two suspects, Khairun Bibi and Gyep Ali. Ali is still at large. They also set ablaze the 25 hooch dens, all of which were located close to the police stations and ransacked the police outposts.

"It's unbelievable! There are at least two police outposts in the locality and no one bothered to stop them," said Shaidul Molla, one of the villagers.