A minimum of 21 people have died and more than a dozen hospitalized, with some complaining of loss of vision, after consuming country-made liquor in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh. The key accused Shripal Lodh has been arrested by Uttar Pradesh Police.
They are said to have consumed the hooch late on Friday night at a get-together in the Johari Darwaza area in Aliganj. As they began to display symptoms like vomiting, nausea and blurred vision, they were on Friday night itself rushed to a local hospital, where five of them were declared brought dead on arrival.
The five deceased were identified as Ram Avatar (59), Ateeq (35), Ramesh (38), Sarvesh (25) and Netrapal (35). Some of those who have lost their vision due to the spurious alcohol have been identified as Naresh, Vijay, Sarvesh, Kallu and Arvind according to a report by IANS.
By Sunday morning, the death toll was revised to 17. It would rise to 21 by noon according to a report by Zeenews. Many of the hospitalised survivors are now complaining of loss of eye sight due to the adverse effects of the spurious or adulterated liquor.
The alcohol that is fit for consumption is ethyl alcohol, which when made gives methyl alcohol as a by-product. Methyl alcohol is toxic for humans. However, when liquor is made illegally, the makers often add this methyl alcohol in it to increase its "potency."
In the aftermath of the hooch tragedy, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav suspended the sub divisional magistrate, district excise officer, circle officer and the Aliganj station house officer of the area. More action is expected to come, as Uttar Pradesh heads to elections in a few months, and Akhilesh would not want this issue to become a poll plank.
Meanwhile, the Senior Suprindendent of Police of Etah district has also suspended seven policemen in the aftermath of the tragedy.