Official death toll due to consumption of spurious liquor in Golaghat and Jorhat districts of Assam rose to 69, news agency ANI on Saturday reported while quoting the state Excise Department. The police on Friday had reported of 30 casualties into the incident, which also included seven women. Fifty more people are undergoing treatment at various hospitals, a district official said, adding that the toll might increase.
More than 100 people -- labourers at Salimira tea garden -- are believed to have consumed the spurious liquor, bought from one seller late on Thursday, BJP MLA Mrinal Saikia said.
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Police have arrested two people in connection with the event.
An inquiry into the incident was ordered by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, while two excise officials of the district were suspended.
Earlier, the police said 12 people were declared dead on arrival at Golaghat Civil hospital on Thursday night. Three others died later on Thursday night and 15 more on Friday. Among the deceased, 23 died at Golaghat Civil Hospital and seven at Jorhat Medical College Hospital, officials said.
A doctor attending to the patients at Golaghat Civil Hospital said that the deaths were due to consumption of spurious country liquor and the condition of most of those brought to the hospital was serious.
Expressing concern over the deaths, the chief minister directed Upper Assam Divisional Commissioner Julie Sonowal to inquire into it and submit a report to the government within a month.
Sonowal also asked state Power Minister Topon Kumar Gogoi, MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa and MLA Mrinal Saikia to rush to the spot to assess and control the situation.
Assam Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya directed a team of department officials to conduct an inquiry into the incident.
Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi has demanded the resignation of the excise minister and urged the chief minister to provide adequate compensation to the next of the kin of the deceased.