Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday said she was saddened and shocked by the deaths of several people in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh following the consumption of spurious liquor in both states.
“The incident is condemnable,” Vadra said in a statement. “That the trade of illicit liquor flourished at such a large scale in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh is unimaginable.”
She said she hoped that the Bharatiya Janata Party governments in both the states would take action against the accused and offer compensation to the families of the victims.
Officials on Sunday said the toll has risen to 96 and more than 200 people have been arrested across both states, IANS reported. A total of 64 deaths were reported in Uttar Pradesh – 54 in Saharanpur district and 11 in Kushinagar district. Thirty-two deaths were reported from Haridwar in Uttarakhand.
The victims had consumed liquor on Thursday evening at a “terahvin” function, held to mark the 13th day of mourning to mark a death, unidentified officials said. Local residents had reportedly consumed liquor in Balupur village of Haridwar and brought back some of it to Saharanpur.
Saharanpur District Magistrate Alok Kumar Pandey said that of the 46 post-mortems conducted so far, 36 were confirmed to have died due to the consumption of spurious liquor. Meerut Superintendent of Police Ranvijay Singh said that 14 people undergoing treatment at the Meerut Medical College were in a critical condition.
‘If anyone is responsible, it is the BJP’: Akhilesh Yadav
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Uttarkhand and Uttar Pradesh of negligence after several people died following the consumption of spurious liquor in both states, ANI reported.
“People have died in two states, the BJP is in power in both the states,” said the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. “If anyone is responsible, it is the BJP. The government should give Rs 20 lakh to the family of the deceased without any discrimination.”
Yadav alleged that opposition parties had notified authorities about such activities on several occasions, but they had failed to act due to the connivance with the government. “The truth is that without the government, such businesses cannot be carried out,” he said. “The government should accept that they can’t run the state.”
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath has ordered a 15-day joint drive by excise and police officials against those involved in the production and distribution of spurious liquor. He has also announced Rs 2 lakh in compensation for the families of those who died and Rs 50,000 each for those undergoing treatment.
The police on Sunday conducted a raid at an illicit liquor production factory in Etah and arrested its manager, ANI reported. Authorities also destroyed 50 litres of illicit liquor recovered from the manager’s possession, and seized equipment used to produce alcohol.
So far the police have arrested 215 persons in Uttar Pradesh and booked 297 persons. Forty-nine cases have been registered in Uttarakhand.