Hooch tragedy hits Aligarh again: Five dead, 22 hospitalised

This is the second hooch tragedy reported in the district in recent days

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PTI

Five people died and 22 more were hospitalised after consuming spurious liquor in a village in Aligarh, days after another hooch tragedy resulted in the death of at least 35 in the district, police said on Thursday.

On Wednesday night, some brick kiln labourers fell sick after consuming countrymade liquor dumped in a canal near Rohera village in the Jawan area, they said.

"It appears that some persons involved in the spurious liquor trade dumped their entire stock in the canal fearing a raid," Senior Superintendent of Police Kalanidhi Naithani told reporters.

This is the second hooch tragedy reported in the district in recent days.

In the earlier case, at least 35 people died after consuming illicit liquor, while autopsies were conducted on a total of 87 victims. Officials fear some of them may have died of the same cause and many people have suffered eye damage and vision loss.

In Wednesday's incident, the brick kiln workers found the liquor cartons dumped in the canal. They started celebrating but were taken ill shortly after consuming the countrymade brew.

An alarm was raised and a police party from the nearby Jawan police station rushed to the spot and took the victims to a hospital.

Chief Superintendent of Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College hospital, Dr Harris Manzur said five people have died so far, three of whom were brought dead.

"Doctors are battling to save the lives of the remaining 22 victims," he said, adding that critically ill patients kept arriving at the hospital throughout the night.

Till Thursday morning, 27 patients have arrived, and if some of them were brought in "earlier", more lives could have been saved, Manzur said.

The first six hours are crucial in these cases, the doctor added.

The police said a case was lodged against unidentified accused and an investigation launched.

Since the first death in the other hooch tragedy was reported on May 28, post-mortem examinations have been done on 87 suspected victims, even though the official death toll remains 35.

Thirty-four people have been arrested so far.

Over the past few days, reports from several hospitals indicated a large number of victims of the previous hooch tragedy suffered severe eye damage and permanent loss of vision.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Bhanu Pratap Kalyani said at least 13 patients suffered severe eye problems after consuming the spurious liquor last week.

"Some of them have shown signs of recovery," he said.

According to Dr Zia Siddiqui, eye specialist at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College hospital, "Treatment of six patients suffering from acute eye damage is underway. Two have suffered irreversible damage, and the remaining four are recovering."

Dr Sanjay Bhargava, owner of a private hospital in the city, told media persons that 18 patients with eye damage were treated at his facility and 16 of them have recovered.

According to medical experts, it will take some more time to asses the number of those who have suffered permanent eye damage.

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