Death toll goes up to 34 in Tamil Nadu's hooch tragedy

State minister EV Velu says two women and one transgender are among the victims

A patient being treated at a hospital in Kallakurichi on 20 June (photo: IANS)
A patient being treated at a hospital in Kallakurichi on 20 June (photo: IANS)


As many as 34 people have died after consuming illicit 'packet arrack' in Kallakurichi, district collector M S Prasanth said on Thursday, 20 June.

Speaking to reporters in Kallakurichi, the top district official said that 109 people are being treated in a number of hospitals and the status of those in a critical stage 'keeps changing' and it would be updated later.

In a statement, CM M.K. Stalin said the government has appointed a one-man committee under retired high court justice B. Gokuldas to look into the issue and recommend measures to prevent such occurrences in the future.

He said the orders have been issued to pay Rs10 lakh to the families of the 34 dead and Rs 50,000 out of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund to those who are getting treated in the hospitals.

He said four persons have been arrested in this connection and action will also be taken against those who had supplied methanol for making the illicit liquor.

"I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of the deaths of people who had consumed adulterated liquor in Kallakurichi. Those involved in the crime have been arrested... Action has also been taken against the officials who failed to prevent it," Stalin said in a post on X.

State minister (highways) EV Velu said two women and one transgender were among the victims.

Prasanth further said sufficient medical professionals, including specialists from nearby government medical colleges, have been deployed in the district to handle the situation, even as more number of ambulances with life-support have been stationed.

Briefing reporters in Kallakurichi, senior minister EV Velu said it should not be assumed that if 'illicit arrack sale' has happened only under the DMK rule and such incidents have been occurring during all the regimes.

"Every government (be it DMK or AIADMK governments) has taken tough action, this government has been taking stern action continuously."

Furthermore, he told reporters: "As far as the government is concerned there is no necessity for it to encourage illicit liquor peddlers and we are taking tough action."

"The government will not spare anyone," he said, adding two women and one transgender were among the victims.

"I don't like to justify the mistake, this incident must not have happened and since this has happened the chief minister has directed tough action."

Be it brewers of illicit arrack or those who sell it, the government has been taking stern action including under Goondas Act.

Velu and health minister Ma Subramanian are camping in Kallakurichi to render help to the affected people.

However, actor-politician Vijay, Tamilaga Vettri Kazhagam chief, blamed the negligence of the government for the incident and demanded that the state take 'tough' precautionary measures to prevent recurrence.

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