Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met families of the hooch tragedy victims in Tarn Taran district on Friday, saying it was not an accident, but "murder" and the culprits would be given strict punishment. Singh said the death toll in the tragedy rose to 121 with eight more people succumbing in Tarn Taran, taking the toll in the district to 92, while 15 had died in Amritsar and 14 in Gurdaspur.
"No one involved will be spared. Whoever is involved will be given strict punishment as per law," he said while addressing the families of the victims in Tarn Taran. Singh also spoke to the families and took ground assessment of the action taken against the culprits.
The chief minister, who was accompanied by state Congress president Sunil Jakhar, announced increase in the compensation from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to the kin of the deceased. He also announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to those who survived the tragedy, but lost their eyesight. Addressing the victims' families, Singh said the hooch tragedy was "man-made".
"This is not an accident, but murder. Because when someone makes such thing (illicit liquor), he knows well that it can be fatal and people will die. Therefore, as far as I am concerned, he is a murderer," Singh said. "Those who have made this and who know people will die should be tried for murder. Those who do such things should be behind bars." he said.
Many families have lost their sole breadwinner in the tragedy, the chief minister said. "It's hard to believe how people can even think of making such things (illicit liquor) and not even have fear of God," he said.
Earlier, Singh told reporters that the opposition parties were playing politics over the incident. "Politics is being played even when investigations have just started," he said when asked about the Opposition taking names of some members from the ruling Congress in connection with the tragedy.