At least 21 people have died allegedly after consuming spurious liquor in Punjab’s Amritsar, Batala and Tarn Taran districts since Wednesday, PTI reported. One person is suspected to be in a serious condition.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered a magisterial investigation in the matter on Friday. The divisional commissioner of Jalandhar, along with the joint excise and taxation commissioner of Punjab and the police superintendent of the three districts would conduct the investigation, according to The Hindu.
The police have so far arrested one person – Balwinder Kaur, a resident of Muchhal village – in connection with the incident after a case was filed against her in Amritsar under culpable homicide charges. The police are waiting for the postmortem examination of four people to ascertain the cause of the deaths, an official statement said, adding that a Special Investigation Team would continue the probe.
Singh also directed the police to begin a separate operation to crack down on the manufacturing of spurious liquor.
The first five deaths were reported in Muchhal and Tangra villages on July 29. “On the evening of July 30, two more persons died in suspicious circumstances in Muchhal, while one person was hospitalised in critical condition and later succumbed at Sri Guru Ramdas Hospital, from where he was referred by Dr Sarabjit Kaur Hospital, Tangra,” Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said. “Later, two more deaths were reported from village Mucchal, while another two people reportedly died in Batala city, also due to spurious liquor consumption.”
On Friday, five people died in Batala and four in Tarn Taran under “similarly suspicious” circumstances, Gupta said. “One person has been referred to civil hospital, Batala, in critical condition.”