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Wails & despair of hooch victims' families echo in a Tamil Nadu village

Wails of women and men could be heard everywhere in the village as every street was getting ready for a funeral on Thursday afternoon.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 13:48 IST

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Chennai: Kokila, Harish, and Raghavan, all in their teenage years, have been crying inconsolably since Wednesday after their parents Suresh and Vadivazhagi died in the hooch tragedy in Kallakurichi district in Tamil Nadu. 

The three siblings, who are studying plus-two, 10th and 7th standards, were orphaned in one go, leaving them at the mercy of their relatives.

Suresh (37), and Vadivukarasi (35) are believed to have consumed illicit liquor on Wednesday sold in packets in the area and complained of blurred vision and stomach pain. They were rushed to the hospital where doctors declared them dead. 

“My father is an alcoholic, but my mother never used to drink liquor. My mother consumed the illicit liquor thinking it was water as my father poured it into a glass. We pleaded with our father not to get addicted to liquor but he never paid heed to our request,” Kokila, the eldest of the siblings, said, flanked by her two brothers. 

Suresh was a painter, while his wife was a daily-wage labourer in the construction field. 

“I don’t know how we are going to live from here on. We don’t have any support. All three of us are in school,” Kokila said in Karunapuram village, which has lost about 30 people to the hooch tragedy that struck the hamlet in the wee hours of Wednesday. 

Wails of women and men could be heard everywhere in the village as every street was getting ready for a funeral on Thursday afternoon. One street alone reported 10 deaths even as the last rites of over 20 people were conducted in one place on the banks of River Gomathi.

“Never in our dreams did we think we would face such a tragedy in life. I lost two of my relatives Suresh and Praveen in the tragedy. Who is answerable to our family? Both of them have children to take care of. Who will bear their educational expenses and how will they come out of this episode?” Arumugam, their relative, asked. 

Kavitha, 33, couldn’t control her emotions while looking at the lifeless body of her husband. 

“Me and my child have been left orphaned now. I don’t have my parents and my husband’s parents are also no more. Who do I go to now? I am clueless as to how I will educate my only girl child who is studying in 6th standard,” Kavitha added. 

Another woman who lost her father said he was the sole bread earning member of the family and there should be an end to brewing and sale of illicit liquor. “I agree my father used to drink. But he consumed illicit liquor only because it was available in the market. He drank the illicit liquor early in the morning,” she said. 

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Published 20 June 2024, 13:48 IST

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