By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun/Haridwar, 10 Sep: Seven people so far were reported to have died in Phoolgarh village of Haridwar district, after consuming spurious liquor. As the sun rose, cries and screams filled the air and it turned out that several persons had consumed illicit liquor late last night. While two persons died late last night itself, 5 were reported to have died today. It may be recalled that Panchayat polls have been declared in Haridwar and involvement of candidates contesting the polls can’t be ruled out behind distribution of liquor. Negligence of local police and excise officials also appears to be evident.
On receiving the information, top officials of the police administration reached the spot. The bodies were sent for post-mortem. Officials are investigating from where the deceased had procured the illicit liquor and who all were involved in this illegal business. Sale of alcohol is prohibited in a large part of the district on religious grounds. It may be recalled that Haridwar has seen such incidents on a regular basis. It was in the year 2019 that more than 150 persons had died after consuming illicit liquor, and majority of those who had died then belonged to neighbouring district of Saharanpur , which is part of Uttar Pradesh, while 41 belonged to Roorkee area.
Those who have died so far in the latest incident, are Biram Singh (55 years) son of Baljeet and resident of Phoolgarh, Raju (45) son of Sevaram and resident of Phoolgarh, Amarpal (36) son of Gopal and resident of Phoolgarh, Arun (28)son of Chandrabhan and resident of Phoolgarh, Manoj (32) resident of Shivgarh, Tejpal (62), son of Ram Singh and resident of Phoolgarh, and Ishampal (35) son of Rajendra and resident of Shivgarh.
Police teams claimed to have started raiding the houses and places of the candidates who had allegedly distributed the spurious liquor to the villagers. Meanwhile, some villagers brought wood from the forest and tried to cremate the bodies without post-mortem in a hurry. But the police stopped them.
In the countryside of Haridwar district, the flourishing trade of making illicit liquor and smuggling on a large scale is an open secret. Two years ago, in the border villages of Bhagwanpur and Jhabreda police station area, more than 50 villagers died after consuming spurious liquor.
These days Panchayat elections are going on and the candidates are trying to lure the villagers by distributing illicit liquor, the country liquor or IMFL liquor as per their capacity to impress the voters.
Senior Superintendent of Police Dr Yogendra Singh Rawat reached the village and gathered information about the incident and instructed the police team to nab the culprits. The police teams of nearby police stations were also called in the village and raids began on the houses and places of the candidates.
The candidates are said to be absconding from their homes. Senior Superintendent of Police, Dr Yogendra Singh Rawat told that while investigating all points such as where the poisonous liquor was made, from where it was brought and who distributed it, efforts were on to nab the accused. It was also being ascertained where all this liquor had been sent, so that by seizing it in time, the lives of the rest of the villagers can be saved.