Death toll in UP hooch tragedy rises to 62

Death toll in UP hooch tragedy rises to 62

The viscera examination on 11 more bodies is yet to be conducted to find out if these too were alcohol-related deaths. (Image for representation)

With 28 people dying at different hospitals, the toll in the hooch tragedy in Uttar Pradesh has mounted to 62.

According to police sources here, the toll may go up as around a dozen people, who were undergoing treatment at hospitals, were stated to be critical.

Sources said 52 people have died after consuming illicit liquor in the state's Saharanpur district, about 500 km from here, and 10 others died in Kushinagar district.

"Hooch victims continue to arrive at hospitals...we have referred the serious ones to Meerut Medical College," said a health official in Saharanpur on Saturday.

Sources said that a majority of the victims of the tragedy hailed from the Scheduled Caste (SC) community.

Police on Saturday launched a drive against illicit liquor with the excise officials across the state. Thousands of litres of illicit liquor and dozens of illicit liquor manufacturing units were demolished in several districts, police officials said.

"So far 30 people have been arrested in this connection," a senior police official here said.

Police are trying to identify the source of the illicit liquor, that claimed so many lives in Saharanpur and Kushinagar districts. "Prima facie it appears that the liquor had been brought from the neighbouring state of Uttarakhand," the official said. 

Ten people have also died in Hardwar district in Uttarakhand after consuming spurious liquor. 

Taking a serious view of the tragedy, the state government has suspended eight police personnel and the excise officers of Kushinagar and Saharanpur.