AIADMK Slams "Incapable" MK Stalin On 37 Toxic Liquor Deaths In Tamil Nadu

Mr Stalin said on X he is shocked and pained by the loss of lives, and said the accused had been arrested and action taken against officials who failed to prevent the tragedy.

AIADMK Slams 'Incapable' MK Stalin On 37 Toxic Liquor Deaths In Tamil Nadu

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK leader E Palaniswami (File).


AIADMK leader E Palaniswami has attacked Tamil Nadu's ruling DMK after the deaths of 37 people who drank toxic liquor in Kallakurichi district. Mr Palaniswami - Chief Minister in the earlier AIADMK-BJP allied government - demanded his successor, MK Stalin, resign.

Mr Palaniswami also alleged the involvement of DMK workers in the tragedy and urged the state to enhance monetary relief being offered to the families of those who died. Mr Stalin's government has offered Rs 10 lakh but Mr Palaniswami - who called his rival "incapable" and said he offered "excuses every time" - said Rs 25 lakh should be paid.

An AIADMK MLA had earlier moved a motion in the Assembly but it was turned down.

READ | 37 Dead After Drinking Toxic Liquor In Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin Cracks Down

Earlier Mr Stalin said on X that he is shocked and pained by the loss of lives. "The accused have been arrested. Action has been taken against officials who failed to prevent this. We will crack down... If the public complains about such perpetrators, action will be taken."

He also deployed two cabinet colleagues, including Health Minister Ma Subramaniam, to the district, and ordered the arrest of all those involved in the brewing of illegal liquor. 

Apart from the 37 deaths, over 50 people have been hospitalised. Of these, 18 have been shifted to a hospital in Puducherry and six to the Medical College and Hospital in Salem.

Many of the victims were from the Karunapuram area. A woman who lost her son said, "He complained of severe stomach-ache... said he had consumed arrack. Initially, the hospital refused to admit him, saying he was drunk. State government should shut all liquor shops."

Another mother said, "My son suffered excruciating stomach pain. He could neither see nor hear. This shouldn't happen to anyone. Stop selling liquor."

The police have arrested a suspected bootlegger and detained two others.

A senior cop confirmed the deaths were caused by the toxic liquor and told NDTV, "We are trying to find out what was consumed. At least three people who died consumed liquor supplied by private vendors... not from government-run liquor shops."

The under-fire state government has suspended the district police chief, SS Meena, and appointed Rajat Chaturvedi in his place. At least seven other police personnel, including a Deputy Superintendent-rank officer, have also been suspended, and the case has been handed to the Crime Branch of the Criminal investigation Department.

The tragedy is being seen as a failure of the state's intelligence agencies and the prohibition enforcement wing, particularly since 22 people died last year after consuming methanol.

Apart from Mr Palaniswami, the BJP has also hit out. 

The party's state boss, K Annamalai, who lost the recent Lok Sabha election from Coimbatore, said the DMK had failed to learn lessons from last year's deaths.

Governor RN Ravi, whose tenure has seen several face-offs with the DML, said, "This reflects continuing lapses in preventing production and consumption of illicit liquor..."