Death toll reaches 42 in Gujarat hooch tragedy

Claims of undercounting of death surface as 97 people continue to receive treatment

July 28, 2022 01:15 am | Updated 01:15 am IST - AHMEDABAD

Police personnel inspect seized methanol barrels at Barvala police station in Gujarat’s Botad district on July 27, 2022.

Police personnel inspect seized methanol barrels at Barvala police station in Gujarat’s Botad district on July 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Death toll in the Gujarat hooch tragedy climbed to 42, even as 97 people are still under treatment in various hospitals in Bhavnagar and Ahmedabad. Some of them are said to be in a critical condition, battling for their life.

Of the 42 people who lost their life after consuming spurious liquor, 32 occurred in Botad district, while the remaining were 10 in Ahmedabad district.

However, sources from the villages where the deaths have occurred claimed that the State authorities were reporting a lower number, not counting the many who died without making it to hospitals for treatment.

On Wednesday evening, Gujarat’s Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi told media persons in Gandhinagar that the trial will be conducted in a fast track court and the accused would be chargesheeted within 10 days.

“We will ensure that the guilty would be awarded exemplary punishment,” he said in his first reaction after the State’s worst hooch tragedy in a decade.

Mr. Sanghavi reported that as many as 10 different police teams have been set up in Botad and Ahmedabad, the accused have been arrested, chemical used for making hooch recovered, and suppliers identified and named in the FIRs. Of the 38 people named in the FIR, 15 have been arrested so far.

“A three-member committee has also been set up and that will submit its report soon,” the Minister said, denying laxity on part of the government and the police in enforcing prohibition in the State.

The opposition parties continued to target the BJP government over the hooch tragedy and “free flow of liquor” across the State.

On Wednesday, a delegation of the state leaders met Governor Acharya Devvrat and submitted a memorandum about the incident.

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