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Hooch tragedy rocks TN assembly as toll rises to 48; HC slams govt

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: June 21, 2024 21:26 IST
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The toll from the hooch tragedy in Tamil Nadu's Kallakurichi has risen to 48, state health minister Ma Subramanian said on Friday.

IMAGE: Family members mourn near mortal remains of a victim who died after drinking illegally brewed liquor, in Kallakurichi, June 20, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

The dead included 3 women and a transgender.

Of the deceased, 25 died at the Kallakurichi government hospital, 3 at JIPMER in Puducherry, 16 at Salem Government Medical College Hospital, and 4 at Villupuram government medical college hospital, he told reporters in Puducherry after visiting those undergoing treatment at various government medical facilities.


All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief and state Leader of Opposition, Edappadi K Palaniswami had earlier in the day claimed 50 people had died after consuming illicit arrack in Kallakurichi, a northern district in the state.

Minister Subramanian said that 168 persons including 9 women and a transgender were admitted to various hospitals.

A medical team under the deputy director of health has been constituted to take up a door survey to ascertain the exact number of persons affected due to the illicit arrack consumption, the Minister told reporters in Puducherry.

Earlier, Subramanian interacted with the senior health officials on the treatment being provided to the affected

The mortal remains of 29 people who died till Thursday were handed over to their relatives and the bodies were either buried or cremated, Kallakurichi District Collector Prasanth M S said.

Earlier, speaking to reporters after visiting the patients undergoing treatment at the Kallakurichi GH, the collector said special teams have been formed to prevent the sale of illicit arrack in the district and they have been told to take up intense combing operations.

The administration had sufficient stock of medicines to treat the affected and presently efforts were on in taking door enumeration in Karunapuram on the number of persons who could be affected.

He appealed to those among the public who had consumed illicit liquor to voluntarily subject themselves to medical examination soon and undergo treatment if needed and thus avert possible threat to their lives.

slamming the Tamil Nadu government for the hooch tragedy, the Madras high court directed it to file a detailed report on the steps taken to curb the sale of illicit arrack in the state.

A division bench comprising Justices D Krishnakumar and K Kumaresh Babu gave the directive while posting to June 26, further hearing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by AIADMK legal wing secretary I S Inbadurai.

The PIL sought a direction to the state government to transfer to the CBI, the investigation into the crime/offence, sale of illicit arrack by accused persons in Kallakurichi district.

The report should also contain as to the action taken into the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, besides, that pursuant to a similar incident in Villupuram's Marakanam last year, the bench added.

When the case came up for hearing, the bench orally observed this case was about the lives of the people and therefore the court wants to know as to what action was taken by the police to curb sale of illicit arrack and how many cases were filed in the state in the last one year.

The bench also said it had read a news report regarding illicit arrack being sold in Kallakurichi even before this tragedy.

Even some Youtubers had spoken about it. The National Human Rights Commission had also issued a notice in this regard to the Tamil Nadu government in May. It had called for a detailed report on steps taken to curb the sale of spurious liquor.

This was not the first time the state machinery had failed in preventing deaths due to spurious liquor, the bench added.

Advocate general P S Raman said the government has taken earnest steps to treat those in hospitals. It was taking steps to curb the sale of illicit arrack.

The district collector has been transferred, he added.

Meanwhile, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam members in the Tamil Nadu assembly were evicted en masse on Friday after the main opposition tried to raise some issue during the Question Hour, but the ruling was withdrawn by the Speaker soon, following an appeal made by Chief Minister M K Stalin.

Leader of Opposition K Palaniswami had earlier said the party wanted to raise the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy that has left '50 people dead', but was denied permission. He described the eviction as 'murder of democracy'.

Speaker M Appavu said the AIADMK members wanted to raise an issue during the Question Hour, which was against the House rules.

Members were free to raise matters during the Zero Hour, only after the completion of Question Hour, he added.

As the AIADMK members were unrelenting on their demand, the Speaker ordered for their eviction and ruled the opposition party legislators cannot attend the proceedings for the day.

Addressing the media outside the House, Palaniswami said he wanted to flag the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, which he said has left '50 persons dead'.

Later, CM Stalin appealed to the Speaker that the members of the main opposition be allowed to participate in the proceedings, which Appavu duly obliged and asked the AIADMK MLAs to return.

The opposition party MLAs, including Palaniswami, earlier came to the Assembly wearing black shirts.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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