Punjab hooch tragedy: Death toll rises to 981 min read . Updated: 02 Aug 2020, 05:29 PM IST
- Apart from Tarn Taran, 12 deaths have been reported from Amritsar and 11 from Gurdaspur’s Batala, in a tragedy unfolding since Wednesday evening
- Officials said some of the families were not even coming forward to report the death of their kin after drinking spurious liquor
The death toll in Punjab arising from consumption of spurious liquor rose to 98 after 12 more people reported dead in Tarn Taran district.
“In Tarn Taran, the death toll is now 75," Deputy Commissioner Kulwant Singh said over the phone.
He, however, said the administration put the figure at 75 on the basis of the information “received from the field" as the victims’ last rites have already been performed by their families in the past a couple of days.
Some of them even didn’t come forward for autopsy, he said.
Apart from Tarn Taran, 12 deaths have been reported from Amritsar and 11 from Gurdaspur’s Batala, in a tragedy unfolding since Wednesday evening.
Officials said some of the families were not even coming forward to report the death of their kin after drinking spurious liquor.
A senior police official said they have been persuading them to report the death of their family members.
Punjab police raided rural hamlets and made arrests to break up a bootlegging cartel on Sunday, officials said.
"We have conducted raids at more than 30 places today and we have detained six more persons," Dhruman H. Nimbale, a senior police officer in Punjab's Tarn Taran district, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Opposition AAP held protests at several places, including Patiala, Barnala, Pathankot and Moga, against the Punjab government.
The protesters accused the government of “negligence", leading to death of people, mostly belonging to poor families.
Aam Aadmi Party MP Bhagwant Mann also went to Tarn Taran and met families of the deceased.
Mann sought a probe by a sitting judge into the matter.
The Punjab government has ordered a magisterial probe into the case.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday had announced the suspension of seven excise and six police officials.
Punjab police have so far arrested at least 25 people and conducted more than 100 raids across three districts, seizing hundreds of litres of liquor from villages and road-side eateries, the state's police chief Dinkar Gupta said on Saturday.
He had described the police and excise department failure to check the manufacturing and sale of spurious liquor as “shameful".
The state government has announced ₹2 lakh ex gratia for each of the families of the deceased.