With the death count of people from five villages of Haridwar district in the hooch tragedy rising with time, the police are conducting raids in the areas where country liquor is made and supplied to the rural areas. At the same time, people are speculating why the consumption of liquor supposedly served on the concluding day of a mourning period drove so many to death. Meanwhile, SSP Haridwar Janmejay Khanduri said while speaking to The Pioneer, "So far 34 people have died in Haridwar district and they were from five villages. "
It is being suspected that methyl alcohol mixed in the hooch might account for the string of deaths. The doctors say that given the symptoms they had found on the deceased, they were convinced that there must be a mix of methyl alcohol in the liquor. Doctors opine that though liquor is generally made of jaggery, fruits and wheat, the ratio of mixing is not fixed in case of making the country liquor. “We guess that the ingredients, not in good condition, had been mixed in wrong proportions which led to liquor turning a deadly one,” said a doctor.
A physician from the district hospital Dr Sandeep Tandon said while talking to The Pioneer that he has treated many of those who fell ill on consuming the hooch. “Almost all the victims showed the same symptom of body ache, hazy vision and the like. We believe that wood powder in a large amount was used in making the liquor,” he added.
Meanwhile, blood samples of the consumers have been sent for forensic laboratory testing so as to get complete knowledge of the ingredients used in making the deadly liquor.
With the raids continuing in the aftermath of the tragedy, in a joint operation of Haridwar and Saharanpur police, an accused Fakira and his son Sonu, residents of Balu Pur village in Haridwar district have been arrested in connection to the spurious liquor while one Sardar Sukhvinder Singh of Gagahedi village in Roorkee is on the run. Pathri police on Sunday nabbed a liquor manufacturer and recovered five litres of country liquor from him. The police also destroyed two kilns.
Besides, hundreds of litres of ingredients were seized, police claimed. The police are learnt to have registered cases against 11 people in connection with the spurious liquor tragedy and many engaged in the trade have fled villages to elude police arrest.
As per the SIT team headed by CO Manglaur D S Rawat , formed to investigate the matter, a case has been registered against one Gyan Singh who was himself a victim of the hooch tragedy.
Villagers said that three such people, running the illicit liquor trade, have died on consuming the liquor.