DSPs suspended, SIT formed as hooch tragedy toll crosses 100 in UP, Uttarakhand

Updated on Feb 11, 2019 09:05 AM IST

Fifty-four deaths were reported from Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district, while 18 people died during treatment at the Meerut Medical College.

Victims undergo treatment on being poisoned after consuming a spurious liquor at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut.(PTI)
Victims undergo treatment on being poisoned after consuming a spurious liquor at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut.(PTI)
Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByHT Correspondent

The Uttar Pradesh government on Sunday constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the hooch deaths that shocked the state and took action against two police officers on charges of dereliction of duty.

The probe team has been directed to submit its report within 10 days to the state government even as Ram Krishan Tiwari, the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Kushinagar district’s Tamkuhriaj, and Siddharth Deputy, the superintendent of police in Saharanpur’s Deoband, were suspended.

Tiwari and Siddharth are accused of failing to take effective measures to check the manufacture and sale of the illicit liquor. The Uttar Pradesh government has also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the tragedy.

The death toll in the twin hooch tragedies in Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring Uttarakhand has risen to 108, with dozens of people still recuperating in various hospitals, officials said on Sunday.

A total of 73 deaths have been reported in Uttar Pradesh — 62 in Saharanpur and Meerut districts, and 11 in Kushinagar. As many as 35 deaths have been reported in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar, according to excise department officials.

The victims in Uttar Pradesh visited Balupur in Uttarakhand’s Roorkie on February 7 for a funeral after which they consumed the illicit liquor, police officials said.

A total of 215 persons have been arrested, and cases have been filed against 297 people. Forty-nine cases have been registered in Uttarakhand. In a crackdown, the police have seized 9,269 litres of hooch in UP, while 1,066 litres have been recovered in Uttarakhand.

Over 200 people, including the father-son duo who had supplied the tainted drink, were held during a joint operation by the Haridwar and Saharanpur police.

On Sunday, angry family members of the victims came out on the streets and blocked roads in protest, alleging negligence by officials in providing medical treatment to those who have taken ill.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanded that the BJP governments in the two states should ensure strict punishment to those responsible for the tragedy and provide proper compensation to the families of the deceased.

Priyanka Gandhi, who took charge as the AICC general secretary incharge of eastern Uttar Pradesh last week, said it was unimaginable that the business of illegal liquor was being run on such a large scale.

“I am extremely distressed to hear about such a tragic incident and express my deepest condolences to the family members of the deceased persons,” she said in a statement.

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati came down heavily on the government. “The tragedy is not only unfortunate but also heart-rending and shameful,” she tweeted.

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