Madras HC or SC should take suo moto cognizance on Kallakurichi hooch tragedy: Evidence NGO

Addressing media persons, Evidence NGO’s Executive Director A Kathir said that over 60 people have died so far in Kallakurichi and many others are critical.
A file pic of the mass cremation of Kallakurichi hooch tragedy victims at Karunapuram, in Kallakurichi.
A file pic of the mass cremation of Kallakurichi hooch tragedy victims at Karunapuram, in Kallakurichi. (Photo | Sriram R, EPS)

MADURAI: Urging Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin to provide a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the kin of each victim of the Kallakurichi hooch tragedy, Evidence NGO’s Executive Director A Kathir also appealed to the Madras High Court or the Supreme Court to take suo moto cognizance of the matter.

Addressing media persons, Kathir said that over 60 people have died so far in Kallakurichi and many others are critical. He recalled the hooch mishap in Marakkanam, which claimed 22 lives last year, and said that despite the first incident, Chief Minister MK Stalin failed to prevent the second mishap. Evidence team members went to Kallakuirichi, and met 54 family members of the victims. As many as 28 children, including 11 girl, have lost their parents, said Kathir.

On June 18, a day before the hooch tragedy blew up, Kathir stated that one Jayamurugan and one Illayaraja had lost their lives. Another individual, Praveen, who suffered from pain after consuming arrack, was taken to the government hospital in Kallakuirichi, but doctors refused to treat him. "We found that even children were consuming liquor which was being sold for Rs 60/packet. The victims were daily wage labourers. The state government has earned a profit of Rs 45,865 crore from Tasmac sales, which comes from people belonging to the deprived  communities. Government mechanisms have failed to prevent the mishap," Kathir added.

"Tamil Nadu Chief Minister should take responsibility for the hooch tragedy in Kallakuirichi. For a transparent inquiry, either the Madras High Court or the Supreme Court can take suo moto cognizance from a high-level committee consisting of a Supreme Court Judge or Madras High Court Judge with DGP. A special committee must be formed to provide psychological counselling to the children and women.

The government should provide a monthly assistance of Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for the children who have lost their parents. An additional Rs 12 lakh and a government job must be given to the SC/ST victim's families. Training must be imparted to representatives of village panchayat, town panchayat, and on how to prevent illicit liquor sales in their areas.

All three accused have been booked under IPC sections 328, 302, TN Prohibition act 4(1) (1), 4(1-A). They have also been booked under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, section 3(2)(V)," he added.

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