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Grief in Uttarakhand slum after hooch tragedy

News Agencies | Updated on: 21 September 2019, 15:32 IST
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Pathariya Peer basti in the city is cloaked in an uneasy silence, a day after six persons died in the slum colony after consuming illicit liquor.

The silence is broken at times only by loud wails of the relatives and acquaintances who mourn those killed in the tragedy.

The slum residents are visiting the families which have lost their kin to commiserate with them.

According to the residents of the slum area, three of the deaths occurred on Thursday itself while others succumbed on Friday.

Riya, daughter of 45-year-old Rajendra Kumar who was among the victims of the incident, has been crying inconsolably since she lost him. Amid her sobs, she demands stern punishment for the "killers" of her father."I want justice.

The killers of my father must be brought to book," she said in a quivering voice as she struggled to fight back her tears. People were heard cursing those selling illicit liquor.

Most of those killed were the sole breadwinners of their families who sustained themselves by doing menial jobs. Their death has created the problem of livelihood in front of their families.

Inder washed utensils in a hotel, Surendra worked as a daily wager while Akash drove a loader vehicle to sustain their respective families. Residents of the slums on request of anonymity said police personnel took their commission from the sellers of illicit liquor because of which the trade was flourishing in the area.

BJP's Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi, who lives near the area, accused the police station concerned of trying to hide things and not acting on the complaints of flourishing illicit liquor trade in the area in the past.

Senior Congress leader Suryakant Dhasmana said the "indifference of the state government had led to a tragedy like this in the heart of the city". He demanded that Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, who has the excise department under his charge, resign from the post.

The incident shows he is "incapable" of running the government, Dhasmana said.

Chief Minister Rawat on Friday expressed grief at the loss of lives in the incident and ordered a magisterial probe into it, saying the guilty must be given stern punishment.

He asked the chief secretary, the DGP and the excise commissioner to ensure that those responsible for the deaths are brought to book. Rawat also directed the chief medical officer to ensure proper treatment of people who took ill after the incident.

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First published: 21 September 2019, 15:32 IST