The proverb, alcohol kills, took a literal stance in a recent tragedy that broke out in Morena district of Madhya Pradesh that has since taken about 20 lives. Madhya Pradesh government, after being informed about the incident conducted inquiries with the Morena conductor and SP, and the district excise officer has been suspended over irresponsible primary supervision of the quality of the spurious alcohol in question.
Reports that came out from officials stated that 20 people, including 3 of a family have died so far, with a lot more people being hospitalised after consumption of particular alcohol, which was proven to be a denatured spirit i.e. methylated spirit mixed with certain medicines that made it toxic, later this Sunday. This hooch is second such incident in the past 3 months in Madhya Pradesh. In the first incident that happened in October, 14 labourers from a factory in Ujjain were a part of the list of dead people after the consumption of the said liquor, which was bought by the villagers by an unauthorised person for Rs 50 per bottle.
According to statements given by the people, villagers from Manpur and Pahawali sections of Morena district apparently consumed a white-coloured liquor on late Monday night and some people from nearby villages also fell ill within a day after consuming the same allegedly spurious alcohol. Senior police officer backed the news and has thus deployed police personnel to look into the matter.
Investigations conducted so far have pointed out that the seller of this alcohol to the villagers himself has been rendered sick to the hospital due to the same alcohol. Further interrogations with the concerned individual can only be carried out after doctor’s approval of his better condition. The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan has assured the people of the state that strict action would be taken after fair investigation against those who are found responsible for the tragedy in any manner. The suspension of prima facie district excise officer came in as an effect for the same owing to his negligence in supervision.
In a statement from Home Minister Mr. Narrottam Mishra, it was pointed out police station in charge of the district has also been let go owing to the initial information, hinting strong action against those found responsible for the incident. Identification of those involved in the case is being carried out, as informed by the MP Inspector General, Mr Manoj Sharma. Those in the list of dead individuals belonged to 2 villages that were within a radius of 20 km from the district headquarters. The bodies were sent for post-mortem and any new lead would be conveyed through officials at the earliest.
Hospital beds in Morena and Gwalior have been filled by the ill people under the hooch tragedy. The concerned police station in-charge Mr. Ravi Gurjar in his statement informed that 8 of the ones deceased belonged to a political party. Further information on the matter is still to be awaited till after the enquiry.
However, on a more worrying note, the family members of the deceased have taken to the roads to protest against the personnel and government demanding compensation for their losses and due action against those involved in this heinous tragedy. The compensation demand has been made for a financial assistance of Rs 20 Lakh for the next of the kin of the deceased, a government job to one family member and murder charges filed against the smugglers of alcohol in the village.
The district SP of Morena, Mr. Anurag Sojania has hereby suspended two beat constables and Baghchini police station in-charge Avinash Singh Rathore. On the basis of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s order, district excide officer Mr. Javed Khan has also been suspended in the case in question. A case has been filed against 7 individuals with charges like Section 304 of the Indian penal court that refers to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, section 34 and 39 of Excise act, 49A.
To help lessen the agitation of the families of deceased and provide them assistance in the respective matter, district collector Anurag Singh has announced immediate financial assistance of Rs 10,000 each to the family of deceased and has assured the people and demonstrators that people’s pleas and demands would be sincerely represented amongst the court. To help control the situation and stabilise the matters, additional police personnel has also been deployed.
The tragedy has disputably started conversations about the presence of hub of syndicates in the Morena district of Chambal that are involved in manufacturing and supplying spurious materials, including but not limited to milk and mustard oil. This brought in statements from Madhya Pradesh’s former chief minister and state congress president, Mr. Kamal Nath whose government allegedly initiated a crack down on those involved behind these syndicated groups and powerful gangs. He also slammed Shivraj Singh Chouhan led NDA government to have made baseless and hollow promises of getting Madhya Pradesh rid of these mafia gangs, the work for which Kamal Nath’s government allegedly initiated. However, as opposed to scrapping of these powerful gangs and spurious material suppliers, Madhya Pradesh under Shivraj Singh Chouhan government witnessed one of the most brutal tragedies in the history of the state, which evidently is caused due to spurious alcohol- a by-product of these mafia gangs. He also urged the government to provide sufficient financial and physical relief to the families of those affected
The state has constituted a 6 member committee that includes 4 local MLAs to look into the matter and form enquiry reports. In hopes of faster enquiry and immediate action on those found guilty, people of Madhya Pradesh are trusting the government’s handling of this heart-breaking tragedy and expects the government to put a full stop on these mafia gangs deepening their circle in the state, harming the lives of people with poisonous materials. This is the second time in 3 months that the state is witnessing this hooch tragedy, we can only wish for this one to be the last.