Haridwar/Saharanpur: The death toll in the illicit liquor cases reported from Uttar Pradesh‘s Saharanpur and Uttarakhand’s Haridwar reached over 61 on Saturday. Several deaths were reported from Meerut and parts of Uttarakhand later in the evening.
At least 24 people died in Balupur and its neighbouring villages in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district, state’s Additional Director General (Law and Order) Ashok Kumar said. Reportedly, the post mortem on 11 more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if those were also alcohol-related deaths. Meanwhile, 46 others who had come home to the adjoining Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh after drinking the spurious liquor in Balupur on Thursday night, were also dead.
In Uttarakhand, about 20 more people were under treatment.
Most of the victims had consumed the liquor on Thursday evening after the 13th-day mourning ritual, following a relative’s death in Balupur, officials said. This may have led to more casualties, the official said, and a probe was underway.
Both states have suspended administrative and police officials for alleged negligence and ordered probes. An ex-gratia compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those killed has also been announced.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered departmental action against district excise officers of Kushinagar and Saharanpur, the state government said.
Meanwhile, in Uttarakhand, 13 excise department personnel and four policemen have been placed under suspension. Ten policemen were suspended on Friday in Uttar Pradesh. Both states announced drives to curb the sale of spurious liquor.