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34 die in Tamil Nadu after consuming illicit arrack

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Kallakurichi/Chennai, June 20: The entire Karunapuram locality in Kallakurichi on Thursday echoed with the wails of the family members of the victims of illicit arrack, that claimed the lives of at least 34 persons, with about 100 others under medical treatment.
Following the tragedy in the state’s northern district, the opposition lashed out at the DMK while the ruling party said it should not be assumed such issues happened only during its regime.
Chief Minister M K Stalin said: “The Kallakurichi incident must not have happened and it has caused deep anguish to me.” The deaths were due to consumption of ‘methanol mixed arrack,’ he said, adding he has directed authorities to ensure special care to those being treated in hospitals.
Stalin, who held a meeting to review the situation, announced setting up of a one-man commission to be led by retired Madras High Court Judge B Gokuldas to make recommendations to the government on measures to be taken to prevent recurrence of such incidents and also look into the reasons for the deaths.
Four persons linked to the sale of the poisonous arrack have been arrested so far, Stalin said and declared Rs 10 lakh assistance to each of the families of the deceased. Also, he announced Rs 50,000 assistance to those who are being treated in hospitals. The state Home Secretary and Director General of Police will submit a report on the hooch tragedy following inspection, he added.
He assured tough action against those who provided methanol for making the spurious concoction that became poisonous.
The entire Karunapuram, which has witnessed the deaths, including that of two women and one transgender, wore a gloomy look.
Heart-wrenching scenes, including that of a sobbing young girl, anxious relatives awaiting a medical update on their near and dear ones and women wailing in the streets were witnessed in this nondescript locality.
Leader of Opposition (LoP), Edappadi K Palaniswami visited the affected people, including three children who have apparently lost both their parents.
According to locals, a contributing factor for the increase in death toll is the ‘initial denial’ of district authorities including police for several hours on Wednesday that the deaths, which were less than five at that time, were not due to ‘illicit arrack.’ In the meanwhile, several others consumed illicit arrack and some of them had got stored in their houses.
Meanwhile, #Resign Stalin trended on social media platform ‘X’ and several users targeted the ‘Dravidian model’ tagline of the DMK regime by posting messages using the hashtag #Saraya model (arrack model).
State BJP president K Annamalai announced a state-wide protest on June 22 against the ‘incompetence’ of the DMK government in curbing the production and sale of illicit liquor. (PTI)

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