Over a dozen persons lost their life after consuming spurious liquor in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar on Friday while at least 15 died in neighbouring Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Thirteen persons have lost their lives and many others are receiving treatment at various hospitals in Haridwar after villagers at Balupur were served liquor at a ceremony on Wednesday. Their health started deteriorating by Thursday triggering panic in the village.

Acting on the incident the state excise department suspended 13 personnel and action initiated against four policemen for negligence of duty.

Uttarakhand excise minister Prakash Pant said, “We have suspended 13 staff of the excise department for negligence in duty. We have ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.”

Uttarakhand Chief Minister has asked the district administration to take all necessary steps for the treatment of villagers, who fell ill after consuming spurious liquor.

Haridwar district magistrate Deepak Rawat, Senior Superintendent of Police Janmejay Khanduri and other officers of the district administration rushed to the affected village. The exact number of death many go up as the condition of many affected is serious and many, who attended the ceremony at Balupur, came from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh – where a similar tragedy occurred on Thursday night.

It is believed that the liquor was brought from a village located on the border of UP-Uttarakhand.

On the other hand, at least 15 people died and six are critical in Umahi and two other villages of Saharanpur after they consumed hooch on Thursday night. Those who were critical were immediately rushed to the district hospital.

Ten policemen of the district have been suspended for negligence in discharging their duties.

SP (Rural) Saharanpur, Vidya Sagar Mishra, confirmed 15 deaths in four villages of Saharanpur – Umahi, Sarbatpur, Mali and Salempur.

SSP Saharanpur Dinesh Kumar P said that an inspector, two sub-inspectors and four constables of Nangal police station and a sub-inspector and two constables of Gagalheri police station have been suspended.

DM Saharanpur Alok Kumar Pandey said that the villagers had attended a dinner party in Balupur village of neighbouring Jhabrera police station in Haridwar district in Uttarakhand, where they consumed liquor.

A local from Umahi also brought few pouches and distributed them to a few friends in his village. The local, identified as Pintu, was among the dead.

Recommendation for suspension of excise inspectors of Sadar and Deoband area along with district excise officer has been forwarded to the state government from the district administration.

Taking cognisance of the matter Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered a probe and announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of the kin of each of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the survivors.

The DGP has also given instructions for a crackdown on the liquor traders and put a check on its illegal sale in the state in next 15 days. The Uttarakhand police, too, will be conducting raids in different locations where illicit liquor is made.

The Uttarakhand government was yet to declare ex-Gratia for the hooch tragedy victims.

Meanwhile, Bheem army, which has a support base in villages of Saharanpur, has come forward to fight the problem.

Party district president Kamal Walia said that if the district administration and police fail to put an effective control on sale of illicit liquor, the Bheem army will step in for the good of the people.