26 die, over 45 others taken ill after consuming ‘toxic’ liquor in Assam

The death toll is likely to increase as reports of more persons falling ill after consuming the spurious liquor are coming in, a district official said.

Published: 22nd February 2019 03:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2019 08:10 PM   |  A+A-

death, murder,suicide, die, dead

For representational purposes.

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: At least 26 people, including 15 women, died after they had consumed spurious liquor in Assam’s Jorhat and Golaghat districts.

Over 45 others, taken ill, have been admitted to Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH) and Golaghat Civil Hospital. According to official sources, three to four of them were critical.

Nineteen people, including 12 women, died at Salmara Tea Estate and Jugibari and Goronga villages in Golaghat. Seven others, including three women, died at Borhola in neighbouring Jorhat. At Salmara Tea Estate, the liquor was ostensibly kept in a pesticide container.

Two persons, both liquor sellers, were arrested by the police in Golaghat while two officers of the state’s department of excise had been placed under suspension with immediate effect.

The sources said over 30 people, who had congregated in the labour lines of Salmara Tea Estate on Thursday evening, consumed liquor during a celebration. Soon after, four women collapsed and died. Ten others died by Friday morning.

“Altogether 17 people died at three places of Golaghat from Thursday evening to Friday morning. Thirty four others were taken ill and they had been admitted to Civil Hospital in Golaghat and JMCH,” Golaghat district magistrate (DM), Dhiren Hazarika, told this correspondent. 

He said the exact cause of deaths would be known following autopsy of the bodies and examination of a container confiscated from the site by the police. The container seemingly had traces of a chemical substance, he added. 

Jorhat DM, Roshni Aparanji Korathi, said 15 to 16 people in Borhola had complained of uneasiness and later, seven of them died.

“The rest of the people have been admitted to JMCH. Their condition is stable,” she said.

“The liquor was sourced from two villagers. We have identified them and we will take action against them. The person who sold liquor was among the dead,” she added. 

The state government has ordered a probe into the incidents. A four-member team, constituted for the purpose, has been asked to submit its report within three days.

Opposition Congress has held the state’s Minister for Excise, Parimal Suklabaidya, responsible for the incidents and demanded his sacking.

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