As many as 86 people have reportedly died so far in the Punjab spurious liquor tragedy following which the state government has called for strict against against those responsible for the incident. Several senior officials in the state have been suspended, while many people in connection with the incident have been arrested by the authorities. ALSO READ | Nepal Provokes Again, To Send Controversial Map With Indian Territory To UN, Google
As per reports, maximum deaths have taken place in Tarn Taran, Batala and Amritsar districts of the state since Wednesday. Tarn Taran alone accounted for 63 deaths, followed by 12 in Amritsar and 11 in Gurdaspur’s Batala. Till Friday night, the state had reported 39 deaths in the tragedy unfolding since Wednesday night.
Here’s what has happened so far in the Punjab Hoonch tragedy case | Top 10 developments
1. As per latest development, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday ordered the suspension of, and inquiry against, seven Excise and Taxation Officers and Inspectors, along with two DSPs and four SHOs of Punjab Police. He has also announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia compensation to each of the families of the deceased.
2. Strict action will be taken against any public servant or others if found complicit in the case, said the Chief Minister, describing the police and Excise Department’s failure to check the manufacturing and sale of spurious liquor as shameful. Nobody will be allowed to get away with feeding poison to our people, he added.
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3. Director General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said a huge quantity of spurious liquor, drums, storage cans etc. has been recovered from the accused and they have been sent for chemical analysis to check for constituents of spurious liquor. More arrests are likely, he said, adding that raids were continuing and the police teams would continue to crack down on all those involved in the case to unravel the extend of the spurious liquor mafia operating in the region.
4. While Balwinder Kaur and Mithu were arrested from Amritsar Rural district, two persons identified as Darshan Rani and Rajan were nabbed from Batala district. Four others, namely Kashmir Singh, Angrez Singh, Amarjit and Baljit, have been arrested from Tarn Taran.
5. The Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal demanded a judicial probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana Court while the Aam Aadmi Party’s sought the chief minister’s resignation.
6. Urging the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal not to politicise the tragedy, in which so many families had been destroyed, Amarinder Singh said such cases had happened earlier too, including under the SAD-BJP regime.
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7. A senior police official on Saturday said families of several victims were not coming forward to record their statements but they persuaded them to do so. A majority of the families were not coming forward and did not want any action. Some of them are not even getting the post-mortem done, said the police official.
8. Meanwhile, Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ishfaq said some families have refused to accept that their kin died after consuming spurious liquor. The wards of some of those who died are not accepting that they died because of spurious liquor. They are saying their family member died of heart attack, said the DC.
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9. The chief minister has promised strict action against anyone involved in the case and has directed police to crack down on any spurious liquor manufacturing unit operating in the state. The Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner will conduct the inquiry, along with the Punjab Joint Excise and Taxation Commissioner and the Superintendents of Police (Investigation) in the three districts.
10. Similar incidents had occurred in 2012 and 2016 in Gurdaspur and Batala respectively. Several lives were lost in these cases too, he pointed out, adding that in the Batala case, no FIR was even registered and no action taken against the main accused.