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2 more die in Golaghat, 4 held in Jorhat in hooch tragedy

The total number of deaths in Jorhat district is 58, of whom 38 died at JMCH and 20 at Borholla

By Devajit Baruah and Ritupallab Saikia in Jorhat and Golaghat
  • Published 27.02.19, 12:30 AM
  • Updated 27.02.19, 12:30 AM
  • 2 mins read
Nurses tend to a hooch tragedy survivor in Golaghat. PTI

The two main accused in the hooch tragedy at Borholla in Upper Assam’s Jorhat district, Jitu Sonowal and Sunil Baruah, who were arrested from Baksa district late on Sunday night, could not be produced in Jorhat court on Tuesday because their interrogation was continuing.

Sub-divisional police officer of Titabar, Subhrajyoti Bora, said they were interrogating the duo. Raids were being conducted at the places from where they operated and stored liquor. He added that some equipment was also seized.

The accused hail from Orungial of Borholla in Jorhat district, where around 60 people have died. Of them, 33 are from Borholla tea estate.

The situation stabilised in Jorhat Medical College and Hospital with 40 persons being discharged on Tuesday after their condition improved.

There were no more reports of deaths there over the past 24 hours, said JMCH public relations officer Manabjyoti Gohain.

In Golaghat, the toll reached 97 with the death of two more persons, taking the toll in the two districts to 157, including the two who died at Halmira tea estate on Thursday before they were rushed to hospital. The deceased were Suraj Tanti and Dipali Hazarika of Mokrong and Thuramukh of the district.

“We have not received any new patient affected by toxic alcohol on Tuesday. Over the past two days we have discharged 69 patients from the hospital. The situation is gradually coming under control,” said Uttam Dutta, the superintendent of Swahid Kushal Konwar civil hospital.

The total number of deaths in Jorhat district is 58, of whom 38 died at JMCH and 20 at Borholla, before they could be taken to hospital.

More than 250 people were admitted to JMCH over the past three days and the Borholla community health centre had checked and treated over 1,200 people since the night of February 21.

East Jorhat circle officer Debahuti Bora on Tuesday lodged a written complaint with Jorhat sadar police station against four businessmen of Jorhat town — Jai Kumar Dhanuka, Mahesh Beriya, Bikash Beriya and Anil Agarwalla — on charges of allegedly purchasing, selling and supply of molasses to sulai (hooch) brewers.

Jorhat deputy commissioner Roshni A. Korathi had conducted raids in their godowns.

A team comprising the circle officer and excise department officials checked and inspected the godowns.

The circle officer lodged the written complaint and Jorhat police have registered a case against the four.

Chief adviser to the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti Akhil Gogoi on Tuesday arrived at SKK civil hospital in Golaghat and met the survivors. Akhil said Dispur has facilitated the trading of country liquor and thus the government is solely responsible for the tragedy. “The unholy nexus of the police, excise and supply department, along with the deputy commissioner with the brewers of spurious liquor, has resulted in the deaths of so many people. These officials should be arrested and suspended immediately,” he said. He demanded the resignation of excise and health ministers Parimal Suklabaidya and Himanta Biswa Sarma respectively and BJP legislator from Khumtai, Mrinal Saikia.