New Delhi: The death toll in the Punjab hooch tragedy on Saturday soared to 86; 63 of the fatalities were reported from Tarn Taran district, 12 from Amritsar and 11 from Gurdaspur’s Batala. Notably, these people died after drinking spurious liquor that appeared to have been distilled in Amritsar’s Muchhal village. The state government also suspended seven excise and six police officials. Also Read - Punjab Hooch Tragedy: 'Capt Amarinder Singh is Suffering From Dementia,' Say Targetted Congress MPs
Here are the top 10 points in this big story: Also Read - Punjab to Provide Smartphones to Class 12 Students of Govt Schools to Help Them Access Online Education Amid Pandemic
1) 25 people have been arrested in connection with the case so far. Also Read - Punjab Hooch Tragedy: Charge Those Directly Involved With Murder, CM Amarinder Singh's Orders to Police Chief
2) The opposition has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has warned of strict action against anyone found complicit in the case.
3) According to an official statement, the suspended officials included two deputy superintendents of police and four station house officers.
4) The first deaths were reported in Amritsar’s Muchhal village on Wednesday evening. By Friday night, according to official figures, 38 people had died. By Saturday night, the toll has risen sharply with 48 more deaths being reported during the day. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Saturday announced Rs 2 lakh as compensation to each of the families of the deceased.
5) Officials did not give any figures on the number of people still admitted to hospitals after drinking illegally distilled liquor.
6) Police have conducted several raids to nab the culprits. After eight arrests on Friday, they nabbed 17 more people in over 100 raids in the three districts and several other places on Saturday.
7) The raiding parties seized large quantities of ‘lahan’ (raw material for making liquor) from various villages and ‘dhabas’ in the region around the Shambhu border, Rajpura and Patiala, Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said.
8) The raids have exposed a massive liquor racket, extending across several districts, he said, adding that several dhabas at Shambhu, Banur and Rajpura of Patiala have been sealed.
9) Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal attacked the state government, alleging that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh heads a murderous” government, which has the “blood of more than 80 Punjabis on its hands. In a statement issued in Amritsar, Sukhbir alleged, “The hooch tragedy is the direct and natural consequence of the patronage given to Congress leaders, including ministers and MLAs, for freely carrying out rampant illicit liquor trade in the state.
It is a murder, pure and simple. All the guilty, including ministers and ruling party MLAs, be arrested, he demanded, adding that the CM should step down immediately owning the moral responsibility for this “horrendous crime .
Sukhbir also rejected the magisterial probe ordered by the CM and demanded an independent inquiry by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
10) Meanwhile, Amarinder Singh urged Sukhbir not to “politicise the tragedy”, saying such cases had happened earlier too under the SAD-BJP regime.