97 die in UP-Uttarakhand hooch tragedy, 215 arrested

LUCKNOW/DEHRADUN The death toll in the moonshine tragedy in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand rose to 97 on Sunday even as 215 people were arrested in a sweeping police crackdown on illicit liquor in Uttar Pradesh, officials said.

Simultaneously, as the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) blamed the ruling BJP in both states for the mass deaths, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said he smelt “a conspiracy” in which the SP may be involved.

He said in Gorakhpur that a probe had been ordered. “Such incidents have happened in the past too where many times SP workers were involved. The guilty will not be spared.”

The death toll in Saharanpur district in Uttar Pradesh remained unchanged at 36, but 18 deaths were reported from the Meerut Medical College where many had been brought after consuming the illicit liquor on Thursday.

Meerut’s Superintendent of Police Ranvijay Singh confirmed the hospital deaths and said 14 others were still undergoing treatment at the medical facility and were in critical condition.

A hospital doctor told IANS that 17-18 of the 22-24 people brought after taking the moonshine had died.

Saharanpur District Magistrate Alok Kumar Pandey told IANS that post-mortem had confirmed 36 deaths due to consumption of spurious liquor.

Eleven persons also died in Kushinagar district.

A total of 32 people died in Roorkie and Haridwar in Uttarakhand.

All the deceased had crossed over to Balupur in Roorkie in the neighbouring hill state on Thursday for an after-death ritual where they were apparently served the spurious liquor.

In the crackdown following the deaths, a total of 9,269 litres of moonshine was seized in Uttar Pradesh and 1,066 litres in Uttarakhand.

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