Kallakurichi hooch tragedy: Death toll rises to 38, over a hundred hospitalised in Tamil Nadu

As Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin comes under severe fire, 9 policemen including those from prohibition wing of Kallakurichi have been suspended.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 20, 2024 | 9:55 AM Updated Jun 20, 2024 | 7:19 PM

tamil nadu hooch tragedy

The death toll in the hooch tragedy of Kallakurichi, Tamil Nadu has risen to 34, with over a hundred people still undergoing treatment.

Chief Minister MK Stalin said, on Thursday, 20 June, four persons linked to the sale of poisonous arrack have been arrested so far.

Speaking to reporters in Kallakurichi, district collector MS Prashanth confirmed in the morning of Thursday, 20 June, the rise in death toll, “29 people have died after consuming illicit ‘packet arrack’.” By Thursday evening, the number had risen to 38.

The top district official further said that 109 people are being treated in a number of hospitals and the status of those in a critical stage “keeps changing” and it would be updated later.

State Minister (Highways) EV Velu said two women and one transgender person were among the victims.

He added sufficient medical professionals, including specialists from nearby government medical colleges have been deployed in the district to handle the situation, even as more number of ambulances with life-support have been stationed.

Requisite medicine and special teams of government doctors from Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai and Salem have been rushed to Kallakurichi hospital to assist, and supervise treatment. A senior official from Health department has also been deputed.

Also, as many as 18 people have been referred to Puducherry JIPMER Hospital for specialty treatment, and six others to Salem government hospital.

‘Every govt took strict action’

Briefing reporters in Kallakurichi, senior Minister EV Velu said it should not be assumed as if “illicit arrack sale” has happened only under the DMK rule and such incidents have been occuring during all the regimes.

“Every government (be it DMK or AIADMK governments) has taken tough action, this government has been taking stern action continuously.”

Furthermore, he told reporters: “As far as the government is concerned there is no necessity for it to encourage illicit liquor peddlers and we are taking tough action.”

“The government will not spare anyone,” he said, adding two women and one transgender were among the victims.

“I don’t like to justify the mistake, this incident must not have happened and since this has happened the chief minister has directed tough action.”

Be it brewers of illicit arrack or those who sell it, the government has been taking stern action including under Goondas Act.

Velu and Health Minister Ma Subramanian are camping in Kallakurichi to render help to the affected people.

Tamil Nadu Health Minister, MA Subramanian also visited the hospital, where the affected are undergoing treatment.

Actor-politician Vijay, Tamilaga Vettri Kazhagam chief blamed the negligence of the government for the incident and demanded that the state take ‘tough’ precautionary measures to prevent recurrence.

Also Read: Death toll rises in Tamil Nadu hooch tragedy, several hospitalised after consuming illicit arrack in Kallakurichi

Action against officials

K Kannukutti (49) has been arrested and an analysis of about 200 litres of illicit arrack seized from him has disclosed presence of deadly methanol, the government said.

Chief Minister MK Stalin has ordered a CB-CID probe to ensure comprehensive investigation and the government transferred Kallakurichi District Collector Sravan Kumar Jatavath while Superintendent of Police Samay Singh Meena was suspended, a statement said.

Nine other police personnel including those from prohibition wing of Kallakurichi district have been placed under suspension.

MS Prasanth and Rajath Chaturvedi have been appointed as the new collector and police superintendent for Kallakurichi district.

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi expressed shock over the loss of lives and expressed “serious concern” over “continuing lapses,” vis-a-vis illicit liquor.

CM Stalin vowed to crush such crimes with an “iron fist”.

“Deeply shocked at the reported loss of lives due to consumption of illicit liquor in Kallakurichi. Many more victims are in serious condition battling for lives. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and prayers for speedy recovery of those in hospitals,” Governor Ravi said on the Raj Bhavan’s official ‘X’ handle.

“Every now and then tragic loss of lives due to consumption of illicit liquors are reported from various parts of our state. This reflects continuing lapses in preventing production and consumption of illicit liquor. This is a matter of serious concern,” he added.

Opposition attacks Stalin

The AIADMK lashed out against the ruling DMK over the matter.

Taking to X, the Leader of Opposition, Edappadi Palaniswami, said, he would be meeting the victims in Kallakuruchi.

He further added, “As the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly convenes today, as per tradition, condolence resolutions will be read and passed for many including the deceased former members. Condolences to the deceased on behalf of AIADMK”

(With PTI inputs)

(South First is now on WhatsApp  and Telegram)