Punjab hooch tragedy: Death toll rises to 39, two more arrested in Amritsar

Topics hooch deaths | Punjab | Amritsar

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The death toll in the hooch tragedy in Punjab rose to 39 on Saturday, as two more people were arrested in Amritsar for their alleged involvement in selling spurious liquor, a police official said.

The deaths took place in Tarn Taran, Batala and Amritsar districts of the state since Wednesday.

Two more people were arrested Saturday morning in connection with the incident, Inspector General of Police S P S Parmar told PTI over phone.

Raids are still going on, he said.

Five persons have been detained in Tarn Taran for questioning in this connection, the officer said.

Meanwhile, officials said 39 people have so far died in the incident.

They said one more person died in Amritsar on Friday night.

Nineteen people died in Tarn Taran, 11 in Amritsar and nine in Batala after consuming liquor that appeared to have been distilled in Amritsar's Muchhal village, officials said on Saturday.

They, however, feared that the death toll could rise.

On Friday, eight bootleggers were arrested in over 40 raids conducted across the three districts. A large amount of spurious liquor, drums and storage cans were recovered from the accused and have been sent for chemical analysis.

According to officials, some of the families of the deceased refused to record their statements. Whereas some held protests at Muchhal village, seeking compensation from the government.

The family members of deceased Kirpal Singh kept his body at the protest site and demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh while seeking strict action against the liquor mafia.

Many also threatened that they would block the Amritsar-Delhi National Highway if their demands were not met.

Khadoor Sahib MP Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Jandiala MLA Sukhwinder Singh Danny andSenior Superintendent of Police Dhruv Dhaiya reached the spot to pacify the protesters.

Dimpa announced Rs 1 lakh compensation to each family of the deceased. The family members, however, demanded higher compensation.

The Punjab government has ordered a magisterial inquiry by Divisional Commissioner Jalandhar into the incident. Joint Excise and Taxation Commissioner Punjab and SPs (Investigation) of the districts concerned will also be a part of the team.

Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal has demanded a judicial probe into the incident, while the Aam Aadmi Party said CM Amarinder Singh should resign, over one of the biggest hooch tragedies in the state.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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