Chandigarh: The number of deaths due to the consumption of spurious liquor has gone up to 73 in Punjab. Till now, 52 have died in Tarn Taran, 12 in Amritsar and nine in Batla. There is a strong possibility of the number of deaths going up. Police have so far arrested 10 people in Tarn Taran.

Border range DIG Hardayal Mann has said that so far 52 people died in Tarn Taran alone and police are raiding different places to catch the culprits who have escaped. In all the three affected districts, people fell ill after consuming alcohol and a few hours later, they died. The state government has promised strict action against the culprits as the Opposition has raised the issue. The government has suspended the SHO due to negligence. A police Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been constituted which will investigate the case.

The political bickering has also begun on the issue. The Opposition parties are appealing for an investigation from a higher authority. However, the government has promised to take strict action against the culprits. 

With the number of deaths increasing, Punjab chief minister Captain Amrinder Singh ordered a magisterial inquiry. He tweeted, “I have ordered a magisterial enquiry into the deaths of poisonous liquor in Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Tarn Taran. The commissioner, Jalandhar division will conduct the investigation and coordinate with the concerned SSP and other officials, whoever is found guilty will not be spared.” 

The Police department swung into action after the chief minister looked into the case. On Friday (July 31), 40 places in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, and Batla were raided after which 10 people involved in liquor smuggling were arrested. A woman was also apprehended from Muchhal village of Tarsikka in Amritsar. Akali Dal is constantly targeting the government on the issue. Akali Dal is accusing the government of conspiring along with the culprits. Akali Dal leader Viras Singh held a press conference and levelled severe charges against the government.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has also accused the government. They have said that the excise department and police are under the chief minister and now he should give up control of both departments. The big question now arises is why the government and the police department wake up only after a big tragedy happens.