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Home / Chandigarh / Punjab CM meets family members of hooch tragedy victims, hikes ex gratia to Rs 5 lakh; toll rises to 121

Punjab CM meets family members of hooch tragedy victims, hikes ex gratia to Rs 5 lakh; toll rises to 121

Says special prosecution teams to be deputed in courts to ensure strict punishment to the accused

chandigarh Updated: Aug 07, 2020 23:31 IST
Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh interacting with family members of the hooch tragedy victims in Tarn Taran on Friday. This was Amarinder’s first field visit since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh interacting with family members of the hooch tragedy victims in Tarn Taran on Friday. This was Amarinder’s first field visit since the Covid-19 outbreak. (Sameer Sehgal/HT )

Tarn Taran: Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh met family members of the victims of Punjab’s worst hooch tragedy on Friday and announced an increase in ex gratia relief from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for each of victim’s next of kin.

Accompanied by state Congress president Sunil Jakhar, chief principal secretary Suresh Kumar and director general of police Dinkar Gupta, Capt Amarinder Singh interacted with family members of the hooch victims at Tarn Taran’s Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sports Stadium while maintaining social distancing in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was his first field visit since the coronavirus outbreak.

The chief minister said that perpetrators of this heinous crime would not be spared at any cost and strict action would be taken.

He announced that those victims who had lost their sight in the tragedy would also get financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh.

Handing over a cheque for Rs 2.92 crore for the 92 victim families of Tarn Taran district to the deputy commissioner, the chief minister said that anyone however affluent but responsible for this crime would not be spared.

He said the toll in the tragedy has risen to 121 with 92 deaths in Tarn Taran, 14 in Amritsar district and 15 in Batala.

‘NO LENIENCY FOR UNPARDONABLE ACT’

Describing the deaths as murder, he said, “The perpetrators deserve no leniency since this is a man-made tragedy. To ensure the culprits get exemplary punishment, special prosecution teams will be deputed to pursue the cases and the properties of those responsible for this unpardonable act will be confiscated.”

He reiterated his government’s commitment to stand by the victim families in this hour of grief by extending a helping hand in providing jobs, education and other social security benefits to them.

In his address, Sunil Jakhar said that this tragedy was the outcome of criminal negligence and merits exemplary punishment to the perpetrators of this crime.

Prominent among those present were Khadoor Sahib Lok Sabha MP Jasbir Singh Gill (Dimpa), state mining minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation chairman and MLA Raj Kumar Verka, and Tarn Taran deputy commissioner Kulwant Singh.

Meanwhile, workers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal protested against the state government alleging a political-mafia nexus. They were to protest outside the stadium but were stopped a kilometre away at Chabhal bypass by the police. The protesters demanded action against Congress MLAs representing constituencies from where the hooch deaths were reported.

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