Punjab hooch tragedy: Death toll climbs to 98, govt suspends seven excise and six police officials

Apart from 75 deaths in Tarn Taran district, 12 deaths were reported from Amritsar and 11 from Gurdaspur’s Batala, in a tragedy unfolding since Wednesday evening

Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ @ians_india
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ @ians_india

Bipin Bhardwaj

The death toll in the Punjab hooch tragedy rose to 98 on Sunday with more people reported dead in Tarn Taran district after having consumed spurious liquor.

According to Tarn Taran Deputy Commissioner Kulwant Singh, the death count has gone to 75 in the district. He, however, said the administration put this figure together 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 couple of days. Some of them even didn’t come forward for autopsy, the DC added.

Apart from Tarn Taran, 12 deaths have been reported from Amritsar and 11 from Gurdaspur’s Batala, in a tragedy unfolding since Wednesday evening.

An official said some of the families were not even coming forward to report the death of their kin after drinking spurious liquor.

The Punjab government has ordered a magisterial probe into the case. Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh on Saturday had announced the suspension of seven excise and six police officials.

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 Rs 2 lakh ex -gratia for each of the families of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (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.

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