Tamil Nadu hooch tragedy: BJP slams Congress's ‘silence’ as 53 dead | 10 points | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Tamil Nadu hooch tragedy: BJP slams Congress's ‘silence’ as 53 dead | 10 points

Jun 23, 2024 02:52 PM IST

The death toll in the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy rose to 53, with the condition of at least two dozen people still critical.

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday targeted the opposition INDIA bloc over its ‘silence’ on the hooch tragedy in DMK-ruled Tamil Nadu in which more than 50 people have died so far. BJP MP Sambit Patra said the ‘silence’ of Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, and other leaders of the INDIA bloc over the issue is “quite striking”. Patra termed the deaths as murder, saying majority of the victims belonged to the scheduled castes.

Kallakurichi: Family members stand next to patients admitted to a government hospital after consuming spurious liquor, in Kallakurichi, Friday, June 21, 2024. (PTI)
Kallakurichi: Family members stand next to patients admitted to a government hospital after consuming spurious liquor, in Kallakurichi, Friday, June 21, 2024. (PTI)

“If more than 32 Dalits are killed in this country, I would call it a murder, this is not death,” the BJP leader said at a press briefing.

“So many parties are silent only because they think raising the issue is not in their political interest.”

Families of Kallakurichi victims shattered, question availability of hooch

Here's all you need to know about the hooch tragedy:

  1. The death toll from the hooch tragedy in Kallakurichi district, Tamil Nadu, has increased to 53. Many people remain hospitalised and under treatment. Out of the 193 admitted to various government medical facilities, 140 are currently reported as stable, according to district collector M S Prasanth.
  2. Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin confirmed that the locally brewed arrack drink was laced with poisonous methanol, leading to the deaths of 37 people within hours after consuming the illegal alcohol on Tuesday.
  3. This incident is one of the deadliest in recent years, highlighting a persistent issue in the country where hundreds of people die annually from consuming cheap alcohol made in backstreet distilleries. To increase its potency, the liquor is often spiked with methanol, a toxic substance that can cause blindness, liver damage, and death. (Also Read: In Tamil Nadu, where people who cannot afford expensive IMFL turn to dangerous bootleg alcohol )
  4. Justice B Gokuldas, heading the one-man commission investigating the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, began his inquiry on Friday into the incident. The retired judge of the Madras High Court visited Kallakurichi Government Medical College Hospital as part of his preliminary inquiries but declined to comment to reporters.
  5. On Saturday, AIADMK legislators, led by opposition leader Edappadi K Palaniswami, pressed for adjournment of the question hour to discuss the Kallakurichi issue. However, Speaker M Appavu ruled that the question hour could not be adjourned but assured them time during zero hour to address the issue. Despite this assurance, AIADMK members persisted with their demand and eventually walked out of the Assembly.
  6. Palaniswami reiterated his demand for a CBI probe, dismissing the state-appointed one-man commission's inquiry as inadequate to uncover the truth. He claimed that essential medicines, including an antidote to methanol, were unavailable when needed.
  7. Tamil Nadu health minister Ma Subramanian mocked AIADMK chief Palaniswami as a 'medical expert' for claiming the state lacks an antidote for methanol poisoning. Subramanian said that Palaniswami is confusing 'Omeprazole' with 'Fomepizole,' the latter being the actual antidote for methanol.
  8. The ruling DMK criticised the AIADMK for politicising the tragic incident and rejected calls for a CBI inquiry, asserting that the government has been transparent in its handling of the matter.
  9. Meanwhile, the Madras High Court criticised the Tamil Nadu government over the incident and directed it to submit a detailed report on the actions taken to curb the sale of illicit arrack in the state. The directive came during a hearing on a Public Interest Litigation filed by AIADMK's legal wing secretary, I S Inbadurai. The court posted the matter for June 26.
  10. Kerala excise minister M.B. Rajesh has directed officials to intensify surveillance and conduct raids across the state to curb the flow of spurious liquor. He ordered thorough inspections at all checkposts and border areas, with additional personnel deployed to monitor vehicles entering the state.

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