22 dead in Assam hooch tragedy, many taken ill

GUWAHATI:

At least 22 persons have died and over 30 others taken ill after consuming spurious liquor at a tea garden in Assam's Golaghat district, police said on Friday.

The incident took place on Thursday night at the Salmora tea estate in Golaghat, 300 km from the state capital.

"There are 22 bodies at the Golaghat Civil Hospital. Initially the death toll was 12, but casualties increased as more people were brought to the hospital," Golaghat Additional Deputy Commissioner Dhiraj said.

Locals said many consumed moonshine at the estate on Thursday night, after which several of them took ill. Some are reportedly yet to be hospitalized.

The locals complained about a nexus between the police and illegal liquor sellers.

Assam Excise Minister Parimal Shuklabaidya has ordered a probe.

"The government has suspended two excise officials holding them responsible for the tragedy. We have also asked a four-member Excise Department team led by Additional Commissioner of Excise Sanjib Medhi to probe the incident," said Shuklabaidya.

The committee has been told to submit a report within three days.