It seems that the Excise Department and police in Punjab are sleeping as 86 people have so far died in different districts of the state by consuming illicit liquor.
The death toll is rising in areas like Amritsar, Batala in Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran districts where already dozens of deaths have been reported due to consumption of hooch.
Police as well as the Excise department of Punjab have come under the scanner for not being able to curb the menace of illicit liquor and its movement from one corner of the state to the other. Spurious liquor network in Punjab is deep rooted with alleged involvement of some officials from police and excise department.
Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered a probe into the deaths that would be headed by Divisional Commissioner Jalandhar. Superintendent of Police of the affected districts will also join the probe. Rs 2 lakh compensation has also been announced to the kin of those who died. However the opposition in Punjab has stated that deaths due to illicit liquor are due to the negligence of state government.
Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said that the network of illicit liquor is so extensive that the death toll could further rise.
Orders have also been issued by the state government that no cremation of bodies of those who died due to consumption of spurious liquor, would take place without a post mortem.
Captain Amarinder Singh is now facing attacks not only from opposition but also his own partymen. Member Parliament of Congress, Partap Singh Bajwa in a tweet said, “Captain Amarinder ji. If you really want to unearth the truth behind the demise of 21 people due to spurious liquor and bring justice to their families, nothing other than a time-bound inquiry by a sitting judge from the Punjab and Haryana high court will suffice”.
Meanwhile Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) launched a scathing attack on Captain Amarinder Singh led Congress government and said that the inquiry into the matter should be conducted by High Court. Daljit Singh Cheema, spokesperson of SAD said that the hooch tragedy should be investigated by the court as the Punjab government and police have failed miserably in taking any action against the drug smugglers that are having a free run.
“Congress leaders have patronized the illegal sale of hooch in the state due to which police is also looking the other way. There is a need that the Chief Minister should take some concrete measures to stop the menace of spurious liquor in Punjab” said Cheema.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Harpal Singh Cheema also alleged that the state government of Punjab had closed its eyes against smuggling of illicit liquor due to which the tragedy occurred.