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Kallakurichi hooch tragedy: NHRC takes suo moto cognizance of death of 47 people, seeks report within one week

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), India on Tuesday took suo motu cognizance of a media report that more than 47 people lost life after consuming spurious liquor in Kallakurichi district, Tamil Nadu.

Kallakurichi hooch tragedy: NHRC takes suo moto cognizance of death of 47 people, seeks report within one week snt
First Published Jun 25, 2024, 3:04 PM IST

In response to the tragic incident in Kallakurichi district, Tamil Nadu, where more than 47 lives were reportedly lost due to consumption of spurious liquor, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India on Tuesday took suo motu cognizance of the matter and sought a detailed report within one week from the Tamil Nadu government's Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police.

"The Commission has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise a serious issue of violation of the right to life of the victims. The States have exclusive power to regulate the production, manufacture, possession, transport, purchase, and sale of intoxicating liquors. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Government of Tamil Nadu calling for a detailed report within one week," the NHRC said.

"The report is expected to include the status of the FIR, the medical treatment of the victims who are hospitalized and the status of disbursement of the compensation to the aggrieved families by the State Government. The Commission would also like to know about the action taken against the delinquent officers, responsible for the tragedy," it further stated.

On Monday, a delegation from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by its state chief K Annamalai, met Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi to demand a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) probe into the incident. Annamalai expressed concern over the loss of lives and accused the state government, particularly the Prohibition and Excise Minister S Muthusamy, of negligence in controlling the sale of illicit liquor in the region.

"Due to this carelessness of the DMK government, we have lost 60 lives to illicit arrack in Kallakurichi. Today, we met Governor RN Ravi seeking a CBI enquiry to probe who is behind the sale of illicit arrack," Annamalai said in a post on X.

The BJP delegation highlighted their dissatisfaction with Chief Minister M K Stalin's response to the tragedy and urged Governor RN Ravi to direct the state government to take swift action against those responsible. Former Tamil Nadu BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan was also part of the delegation seeking justice for the victims and their families.

AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami also called upon CM Stalin to provide a detailed explanation regarding the recent spurious liquor tragedy in Kallakurichi.

Speaking during a massive state-wide protest against the DMK-led government on Monday, Palaniswami emphasized the urgency for the Chief Minister to address the public outcry and chaotic scenes arising from the illicit production and distribution of liquor.

"Just as one can’t stop the wind, the DMK can’t prevent the AIADMK members nor the turbulence in people’s minds over the hooch tragedy," Palaniswami, clad in a black shirt, said.

He claimed that his party members were obstructed from participating in peaceful democratic protests throughout the state. Furthermore, the stage set up in Kallakurichi for the event was dismantled, allegedly in an attempt to thwart the opposition party's efforts to address the issue.

Similar protests, aimed at demanding Stalin's resignation, took place in several district headquarters. In Chennai, the protest was spearheaded by former state Minister D Jayakumar.

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