Spurious liquor toll crosses 40 in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu (Lead)

May 19th, 2008 - 5:55 pm ICT by admin  

Bangalore/Hosur, May 19 (IANS) At least 20 more people in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have died after drinking spurious liquor Sunday, taking the death toll to over 40 Monday, the police said. While 12 more lost their lives in Bangalore, four died in Karnataka’s Kolar district, 68 km from here, and five more died in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

The number of dead in Bangalore could go up as around 15 are still in a serious condition, authorities at two hospitals here said.

“So far 17 people have lost their lives (in Bangalore),” Mohammed Rafiq, a police official of Devera Jeevana Halli area on the city outskirts, told IANS.

Five deaths were reported almost soon after many people consumed the spurious liquor in the area around 8.30 p.m. Sunday.

Angry residents of the area ransacked a liquor shop Sunday night and the police used batons to disperse the crowd. “The situation is peaceful Monday,” Rafiq said.

Relatives, particularly women, were hysterical at the state-run Bowring Hospital and at the private Ambedkar Medical College Hospital where the hiich-stricken were admitted Sunday. Many families have lost their sole earning member.

Apart from the dead, over 40 were said to be in a serious condition and on the verge of losing their eyesight, doctors in Bangalore and Hosur hospitals said.

Five people in Bangalore and eight in Kolar have been arrested for the tragedy, the police said.

Deputy Inspector General of Police K. Shenbagaraman told reporters in Hosur that a man and a woman are being prosecuted under the Bootleggers’ Act. “We have information that a liquor kingpin and his accomplice have been detained in Bangalore,” he added.

Karnataka Director General of Police Sri Kumar has ordered raids on illicit liquor brewing dens across the state following the incident.

While five people, including a woman, lost their lives in Bangalore late Sunday, 12 died in Kolar, and eight others in neighbouring Tamil Nadu earlier in the day.

Five people died in Narasapur village and five more in Teykal village in Kolar district, and eight, including three women, died in Tamil Nadu’s Anaikaal village, bordering Karnataka.

Dalit residents of Anaikaal drank the liquor in the early hours of Sunday during the 13th-day rituals of a funeral. Three died after drinking what is suspected to be poisonous rectified spirit.

The poisonous liquor was suspected to have been bought in Karnataka by Tamil Nadu residents who regularly buy cheap liquor across the inter-state border.

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