Punjab minister Aman Arora blames victims for Sangrur hooch tragedy - Hindustan Times
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Punjab minister Aman Arora blames victims for Sangrur hooch tragedy

ByKaram Prakash
Mar 23, 2024 03:32 PM IST

Claims deaths were due to illicit liquor bought from smuggler not government vend, hence no accountability; opposition SAD says minister should apologise, work for stopping illegal trade

Punjab cabinet minister Aman Arora, who is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Sunam, on Saturday said that the state government was not responsible for the Sangrur hooch tragedy that has claimed 20 lives in the past four days as the victims had bought the liquor from a smuggler and not a government vend.

Punjab cabinet minister Aman Arora, who is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Sunam, meeting families of the hooch tragedy victims at Ravidaspur Tibbi village on Saturday. (HT Photo)
Punjab cabinet minister Aman Arora, who is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA from Sunam, meeting families of the hooch tragedy victims at Ravidaspur Tibbi village on Saturday. (HT Photo)

“This (such hooch tragedies) can be stopped if people refrain from buying liquor from illegal smugglers,” Arora said while meeting families of victims at Ravidaspur Tibbi village, where nine people have died after consuming spurious liquor over the past two days.

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Also read: Toll in Sangrur hooch tragedy rises to 20, SIT formed

Several villages in Sunam and Dirba blocks of Sangrur district have been hit by the tragedy that surfaced on Wednesday morning when four people were reported dead from Gujran village. Most of the victims are labourers, who were sole breadwinners of their families.

When reminded of the AAP’s pre-poll promise of tightening the noose around the illegal sale of liquor, Arora said: “The illicit liquor consumed by the victims was not from any distillery, therefore, the state government doesn’t come into the picture.”

He said that the state government’s excise revenue earning had gone up ever since the AAP came into power in March 2022.

The minister went a step further and asked the villagers of Ravidaspur Tibbi to take a pledge that they won’t help illegal smugglers get bail. The police have made six arrests in the case since the casualties were reported from Gujran, Tibbi Ravidaspura and Dhandoli Khurd in Dirba and Sunam blocks.

A four-member special investigation team (SIT), led by additional director general of police (ADGP) Gurinder Singh Dhillon, has been set up to probe the case.

Arora’s statement of blaming the victims for the tragedy has triggered strong reactions from the Shiromani Akali Dal. The SAD’s Sunam halqa in-charge Rajindra Deepa said, “This is an inhumane statement by the minister. It shows the government’s indifferent attitude towards labourers. He should apologise. It is the Punjab government’s responsibility to stop illegal sale of liquor.”

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