‘Alcohol took everything from us’: Barabanki hooch tragedy victim’s kin

Ramvati, 32, of Raniganj village in Barabanki was shocked when her husband Ramesh Kumar, who had fallen ill after consuming spurious liquor on Monday evening, told her that he has lost vision.

He passed away after a few minutes.

Ramesh’s father Chhote Lal (50), and brothers Sonu (28) and Mukesh (30), who had also consumed liquor of the same brand, met the same fate. Within an hour, all the four earning members of the family passed way.

“What is left now to talk? Sharab ne hamara sab le liya. Pehle andha kiya phir jaan le li. (Alcohol took everything from us. It blinded them first and then took their lives),” said an inconsolable Ramvati.

Lal and his sons used to buy alcohol daily from a wooden kiosk located behind a few paan shops on the road leading to Raniganj.

The kiosk, registered with the UP excise department as country-made liquor shop, is now at the centre of 14 deaths caused by the consumption of spurious liquor.

According to villagers, Chhote Lal, a peon at a bank, bought a bottle of country-made liquor sold under the brand name ‘Power House’. His three sons, who worked as daily labourers, also purchased a bottle each of the same brand.

On Monday morning, they all complained of stomach ache and consumed more liquor in the afternoon hoping that it would help in subsiding the pain. But their condition deteriorated.

“Their stomach ache turned worse. When I asked my husband to visit a doctor, he said he could not see anything,” Ramvati said, adding that while she was attending her husband, her father-in-law called her in the other room. “He too complained of loss of vision and asked for some water. By the time I could bring water, he died. I rushed to see my husband and found him dead,” she said. “I called Sonu and Mukesh for help but they too had passed away,” Ramvati added.

In the same village, a group of women were mourning the death of Shiv Kumar Yadav, a mechanic, who died on Tuesday evening. A habitual drinker, Yadav had purchased a bottle of ‘Power House’ from the same kiosk. His cousin Abhay Kumar Yadav said, “He fell ill after consuming liquor. At around 8 pm on Sunday, he asked me to give him a bath. An hour later, he complained of loss of vision and died.”Shiv Kumar Nishad, a farmer in the nearby Bhund village, was busy preparing for his cousin’s marriage.

Nishad slept in the courtyard of his house and started vomiting in the middle of the night.

He complaint of vision loss and twitching of muscles. He died before his family could take him to the hospital.

Besides them, 11 people who lost their lives and 47 others who are battling for their lives in the hospital bought liquor from the same kiosk.

All of them were labourers who worked in farms or construction sites.

First Published:
May 29, 2019 12:21 IST

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