Imphal July 31 (IANS) Five people were dead while 20 others were reported to be in critical condition in hospital after consuming hooch in Manipur, Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar said on Monday.
Over 70 persons from Oinam Sawombung in Imphal were hospitalised after they fell ill on Friday, the Deputy CM said.
Joykumar told the state assembly that the police have detained Abu Kamei and his mother Bina Kamei, who were alleged to have supplied the spurious liquor to two vendors, Ashem Shyamkumar and Imo Elangbam.
Both the vendors were also in hospital as they had consumed the same product.
Joykumar was replying to Congress MLA K. Meghachandra, who had raised the issue, but disagreed with his demand to suspend the concerned police and excise officials for alleged dereliction of duty and thereby causing the deaths.
Meghachandra said: “The Manipur Liquor (Prohibition) Act, 1991, has been in force in Manipur and as yet the police and excise personnel did precious nothing to check brewing, sale and consumption of liquor. Some of the personnel are also known to be extorting protection money.”
Joykumar, however, replied that the basic role of police is investigation followed by maintenance of law and order.
“Besides, the excise department is hamstrung by shortage of staff. There are just two or three battered vehicles in the department. On the other hand, there have been instances of killing and murderous attacks on excise and police personnel who conducted raids to arrest drug smugglers,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh sought the cooperation of the elected members and public to implement prohibition.
“The Manipur Liquor (Prohibition) Act, 1991, allows certain sections to brew liquor for their customary practices. This needs to be amended to make the Act effective,” he said.
He claimed that his four-month-old government has busted several criminal gangs and seized huge quanities of drugs and liquor.