M A I N   N E W S

Hooch tragedy in Gurdaspur; 11 dead
Ravi Dhaliwal/TNS

Gurdaspur, August 7
Eleven persons have died since yesterday after consuming illicit liquor in Johal Nangal and Baleywal villages of Gurdaspur district. While three persons died yesterday, eight more deaths were reported today.

Those who died yesterday were residents of Johal Nangal village. They were identified as Sulakhan Masih, Minda Masih and Kala Shah. All of them had reportedly purchased liquor from Janak Masih, Kamla and her son Subash.

Sulakhan Masih died around 9am yesterday and surprisingly it took the administration officials more than 20 hours to travel just 25 km to take stock of the situation.

Johal Nangal residents who lost their lives to the illicit liquor were: Sulakhan Masih, Minda Masih, Balwant Singh, Kala Shah, Shinda Masih Victor Masih, Natha Masih and Hardeep Singh, while Baleywal village lost its residents William Masih, Jeem Masih and Prem Masih. Three bodies have been sent to the Batala Civil Hospital, while the other eight have been shifted to the Gurdaspur Civil Hospital.

Administration officials reached the spot around 10am today. DC Abhinav Trikha, SSP Raj Jit Singh, SDM Tejinder Pal Singh and SP (Headquarters) Jaspal Singh supervised the operations, while ADC (Development) Rakesh Kumar reached the spot from Batala.

Raj Jit Singh said a case under Section 304 of the IPC and the Excise Act had been registered against Janak Masih, Kamla and Subash. They reportedly used to sell liquor at the rate of Rs 10 per glass.

Batala SSP Rajpal Singh Sidhu said Kamla had been arrested while efforts were on to arrest others.

“Sulakhan Masih used to drink almost daily. After consuming liquor yesterday, he said the taste was a bit unusual,” Masih’s cousin said. After consuming his drink, he complained of breathing problem, lost his vision and finally his life at Guru Ram Dass Hospital in Amritsar.

According to the DC, in order to investigate the case, the police has sought permission to exhume one of the bodies buried yesterday.

Activists of the Kirti Kisan Union staged a protest at Barewal village demanding a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for every affected family. They also demanded a government job for the kin of the deceased and the registration of a case under Section 302 of the IPC.

The DC said the case for awarding compensation to the affected families had been forwarded to the state government, while the police had booked the culprits under Section 304 of the IPC.

CM MOurns deaths

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has expressed shock and sorrow over the death of 11 persons after consuming illicit liquor. In a condolence message, he shared his heartfelt sympathies with the members of the bereaved families.





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