Regular-article-logo Friday, 29 September 2023

14 die in UP liquor tragedy rerun

Over a dozen villagers are under treatment and six of them were said to be in a critical state

Piyush Srivastava Lucknow Published 29.05.19, 01:15 AM
Family members mourn the death of their closed ones killed in a liquor tragedy at a village in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday

Family members mourn the death of their closed ones killed in a liquor tragedy at a village in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday Picture by PTI

At least 14 villagers died in an Uttar Pradesh district on Tuesday after drinking spurious country liquor they had bought from a shop allotted by the excise department in a repeat tragedy in the state where illegally manufactured liquor has been killing people.

The victims, all residents of Suratganj village in Barabanki district, had bought the liquor from the shop in Raniganj, about a kilometre away.


The owner, Daan Veer Singh, has been arrested.

Ajay Sahni, superintendent of police, said the villagers started losing their vision immediately after consuming the liquor from the outlet, one among the many allotted after a draw of lots and marked by a board outside that says they have been sanctioned by the government.

“They also felt problems in breathing. The villagers rushed them to the Suratganj health centre where they died in the morning,” the officer added.

“There is certainly negligence on the part of some officials including the police. While we are going to invoke the National Security Act against the seller of the spurious liquor, action must also be taken against the officers who were supposed to conduct frequent checks on liquor samples in the shop.”

Over a dozen villagers are under treatment at the health centre and six of them were said to be in a critical state.

Earlier this year, in February, 37 people had died in Saharanpur after drinking spurious liquor. Uttar Pradesh police had then blamed Saharanpur-resident Pintu Kumar, the alleged supplier who also died, for bringing the spurious liquor in pouches from Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

His family members had claimed that Pintu supplied liquor manufactured in Saharanpur and not in Uttarakhand and the police would take cut money to let him run his business.

Eight persons had died after consuming spurious liquor in the Ghatampur area of Kanpur in March this year.

In January 2018, hooch had claimed seven lives in Deva Kotwali in Barabanki district, barely 30km from state capital Lucknow.

Thirty deaths were reported from Raunapar, Azamgarh, in July 2017.

The original manufacturers have never been arrested in these cases. While police and excise officials had been suspended, most of them have been silently reinstated after a departmental probe.

On Tuesday, Ramavati Devi, a villager in Suratganj, said she had lost four family members. “My husband Ramesh Gautam, his two brothers, Mukesh and Sonu, and my father-in-law Chhotelal died after consuming the country liquor bought from the shop. They were regular clients of Daan Veer, who sold them liquor on credit,” she said.

“It was a government-allotted shop. We always knew that illegally manufactured liquor kills. This was the reason that my family members used to buy it from a government-allotted shop with the hope that it wouldn’t be poisonous.”

The state government has suspended the district excise officer, S.N. Dubey, the police circle officer, Pawan Gautam, and Ramnagar station house officer Rajesh Kumar for negligence.

Some villagers even told the police the shop’s owner manufactured spurious liquor outside the village and sold it at a cheaper rate than the products monitored by the excise department. “Local excise and police officers visited Daan Veer’s house every Saturday for their share,” a villager said.

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