Indian Catholic News

Church leaders mourn victims of hooch tragedy

Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Agra in Uttar Pradesh said that it was an “avoidable tragedy.”

(Photo credit: IANS)
New Delhi: 

Catholic Church leaders have lamented the illicit liquor tragedy that claimed more than 100 lives in northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand as political leaders sought high level investigation.

The Uttar Pradesh government on Feb. 10 constituted a five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) a day after media began reporting the deaths from consumption of illicit liquor.

Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of Indian bishops’ conference, offered the Church’s “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their dear ones.”

“The worst part of such tragedies is that the victims are always poor or those living in the margins,” he said.

As the death toll continued to raise, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath told media that he suspected a conspiracy ahead of national elections.

Yogi has announced a compensation of 200,000 rupees to the kin of the deceased and 50,000 rupees each to some 30 people undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the state.

The police have arrested 215 people in the state and its neighboring regions, suspecting their involvement in the production distribution of the illicit brew.

Archbishop Albert D’Souza of Agra in Uttar Pradesh said that it was an “avoidable tragedy.”

People should have been vigilant against spurious liquor and government agencies should have kept a tag on its production and distribution, the prelate said.

Father Jose Alukkal from the Bijnor diocese that covers the affected areas of Uttarakhand state said it was the worst hooch tragedies in the recent memory of the state.

Quoting from local sources, the priest said, in most cases spurious liquor was supplied near some sites, where mostly poor people gather.

“The tragedy serves as a wake up call to be cautious about what we eat and drink from public places”, adds the priest.

Opposition Congress party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanded compensation to the victims’ families. She also wanted government offer jobs to family members of the deceased.

Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati has demanded a federal investigation.


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