Six persons died on Wednesday morning at Ghusuri in Howrah district of West Bengal after consuming spurious liquor at an illegal hooch-joint.
Twenty other people have been admitted at a local hospital with many of them in critical condition.
The locals said the affected people consumed liquor at the joint on Tuesday night. Thereafter, many fell ill and by Wednesday morning at least six persons died and 20 others were hospitalised. The police have sent the bodies for post-mortem.
Tension prevailed in the Ghusuri area since Wednesday morning following the tragic incident. The local people alleged that the said hooch-joint is adjacent to the railway tracks at a stone’s throw from the Malipanchghora police station. They also alleged that the hooch-joint was being run in arrangement with the staff of the police station. However, the allegations were refuted by the police.
The local people, a large percentage of whom were women, staged protests in the area in phases since Wednesday morning. A local liquor shop in the area was also ransacked.
It is learnt that one Pratap Karmakar runs the particular hooch-joint. Karmakar has been absconding since Wednesday morning after the news of the death of the six persons became viral.
Ghusuri houses a number of small factories and foundry units, which employ local people. The customers of the hooch-joint owned by Karmakar are mainly the workers of these small factories and foundry units. The local women allege that they had approached the local police time and again, but they did not act. “Had the police taken action before, such a tragedy could have been avoided,” a local woman said.
West Bengal witnessed its biggest ever hooch-tragedy in December 2011 at Sangrampur in Magrahat block under Diamond Harbour sub-division in South 24 Parganas district, when as many as 143 persons died after consuming methanol- tainted spurious liquor.