The death of seven persons after consuming spurious liquor at Slappar during the past two days in Mandi district has one again exposed the alleged nexus and callous attitude of certain officials in checking the menace of illicit liquor trade in Himachal Pradesh.
Though such incidents have occurred at a few places earlier , it is for the first time the illicit sale of liquor in an organised manner has come to fore . The most appalling part in this incident was the impunity with which the bootleggers chose to sell the poisonous liquor through the government authorized vends, besides illegal sale through unscrupulous sellers.
Few present and former elected panchayat representatives have been arrested by the police in this case, making the shelter of certain local politicians apparent.
Former MLA of Sunder Nagar Sohan Lal Thakur has alleged, “Due to political patronage, action was not taken against the liquor mafia during a flourishing trade in Slappar area.”
Many in the area, raising eyebrows on the working of the concerned police and excise officials of the area feel, “It is strange how illicit liquor in such an organised manner was being sold without any inkling to them or they chose to shut their eyes for extraneous reasons”?
“Though the state police have become quite active but the bootleggers seem to have already allegedly destroyed vital clues of the poisonous liquor and the SIT investigating the case might find it quite difficult to catch the big sharks in the illicit trade if allegations of callousness of certain officials and politicians are true” tells a local resident .
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said, “No accused responsible for the death of seven persons would be spared and officials who have failed to check illegal sale of liquor would also be made accountable.”
The state government has announced to give Rs 8 lakhs each to the families of the deceased who have died after consuming the poisonous liquor but resentment among local people has not subsided and demand for a judicial probe in the incident is also being raised now by certain people.